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Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire came to Glenville on Tuesday, January 17th and indoctrinated the petit/magistrate jurors for the November term.

Judge Alsop had cancelled the November date for indoctrination due to their being no heat in the Court House at that time.


•  A civil trial was scheduled before Judge Facemire but the parties had reached a settlement so the jurors were excused after being indoctrinated.


•  Judge Facemire also heard 3 fugitive from justice cases with all 3 defendants being represented by Brian Bailey of Buckhannon.

1) Reymond Rivera-Morales waived to return to Pennsylvania.

2) Terry Joe Higdon waived to return to Georgia and

3) Andrew Parker waived to return to Ohio.

Authorities in those states have until 4 PM Thursday, January 26, 2017 to pick up the inmates or Central Regional Jail will release them.


Judge Facemire will return to Glenville on Monday, Jnauary 23rd for his regular monthly motion day.

Governor Justice Takes Aim At Education Bureaucracy In Inaugural Address

The Free Press WV

In his inaugural address Monday, Governor Jim Justice announced a plan to cut bureaucracy in education, which he said has grown tremendously in spite of declining enrollment rates.

“In 1980, we had 130 bureaucrats looking over 500,000 students,” Justice said. “Today, we have half as many students and ten times as many bureaucrats looking over them. How can it possibly be? How can it possibly work?”

Boone County teacher and President of the Boone County chapter of the American Federation of Teachers Carrena Rouse attended the ceremony, and said she was intrigued by Justice’s proposal.

“I think he is hitting the nail on the head,” Rouse said. “I’m not against administrators. You need good administrators in any organization. But when you have more chiefs than Indians, you have a problem.”

Boone County Public Schools has faced multiple challenges over the past year; in February 2016, the county Board of Education voted to close three elementary schools and eliminate 77 positions within the district. The board voted in July 2016 to cut $6 million in teacher salaries and health care benefits in order to prevent a takeover by the state Department of Education. The school system also had 40 unfilled vacancies at the start of this school year because of those cuts.

Rouse said the district will likely face more cuts in the future.

“When that money at that level drains off all the money you would pay to keep new teachers in the classroom, it says something,” Rouse said.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael was impressed with Justice’s plan to eliminate unneeded jobs as well as waste and fraud.

“It’s tough to root that stuff out, and we, the Legislature, will help him in every way possible to do that,” Carmichael said.

House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead said he was happy to see Justice attack “top heavy” education bureaucracy.

“We have good teachers, good principals,” Armstead said. “They just need to have the ability to go into the classroom, into these schools, and lead.”

Justice also came out in favor of increasing teacher pay and said he was open to ideas from outside of state government.

“Do you know we have 600 classrooms in this state that we can’t even field a teacher?” Justice asked the ceremony’s attendees.

Rouse said Justice was inspiring during his campaign for governor, adding his optimism caught the attention of one of her students during a visit at the Madison Civic Center.

“When she left, she said, “He is our hope,‘” Rouse said. “This is a little 10th grader, 16 year old. I was like, ‘Wow.‘”

Justice said he will submit his plan for review “immediately.”

~~  Alex Thomas ~~

Bob Henry Baber: Loss Of Schools To Consolidation Is A Blow Richwood Should Not Absorb

The Free Press WV

Richwood is smack dab in the middle of tourist country. We are a federally designated historic district with a rich history, artists, writers, musicians, wood carvers and more. We are situated at the base of one of the most beautiful forests in the country. Within a stone’s throw are the Falls of Hills Creek, the Cranberry Wilderness and Backcountry, Cranberry Glades, the Highland Scenic Highway and the best hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, and fishing in the east.

We are America’s best kept secret — but not for long. And remarkably, houses and storefronts are for sale for 50 to 75 percent off or more. Truly, we are the Gabe’s of towns, a bargain, and West Virginians and Americans love a bargain.

Since the June 23 flood, we have had to address many issues — over $10 million dollars and counting worth of flood/FEMA damages. And the paperwork — it’s monstrous! FEMA is an insurance claim on steroids. But we have had lots of help in our recovery. The cities of Summersville, Hurricane and Shepherdstown have all stepped up to the plate. And so has the Brooke County EMS team. Many other communities, church groups, and individuals have also helped. It has been an amazing experience seemingly meeting angels dropped down from heaven. God bless all of you.

We are doing our best to capture our carnage so FEMA can reimburse us for our damages. Our people have rocked and rolled with the punches — but we what we never expected was two haymakers from a new and inexperienced school superintendent out to prove she is smarter than FEMA, the State, and local citizenry.

The dreaded “C” word, consolidation, was put on the table on Jan. 9 for the first time in Nicholas County history. How shocking that a shivering town that has pulled itself from flood waters like a half-drowned dog may be kicked again while it’s down. In America we root for underdogs, we don’t give them the boot.

Now the superintendent and I both have Ph.D.’s, but there is a big difference between us. I’ve been humbled enough by FEMA over the past half year to readily admit I don’t know squat about FEMA’s incredibly complex and ever-changing rules and regulations. She, on the other hand, apparently believes she has “got this.”

She does not. I have a dozen great people around me, and I’m drowning in a sea of red tape. I’ve learned: Nobody understands FEMA — least of all FEMA itself. And if either FEMA or the state is telling you you’re doing a good job, you’d better put your hand on your wallet. Both are telling the superintendent just that, and she believes them.

We can’t wait to fix ourselves. As I write this, it is happening, organically. The old bank, long dilapidated, is being flipped into a daycare center; the C & S restaurant has reopened as the Oakford Diner; the old bakery near the Sculpture Garden is being recycled into the String and Bean restaurant; the Hole in the Wall Pizzeria has been rebooted; and the Rite Aid and Dollar General stores have cleaned and restocked.

New roads, a new water intake, improved water lines and millions of dollars in remediation are coming our way. We are about to get 30 new tiny, medium and large houses built and dozens of flooded homes rehabbed with major grants and volunteers.

Everyone in the state is pulling for us. We are going to put South Fork Lake back on the table and create West Virginia’s newest white water attraction on the very river that ravaged us, the Cherry. And water is going up on Hinkle Mountain and to the Cherry Hill golf course. That area will grow exponentially.

However, we have to protect our schools and all our students.

We want what FEMA and the superintendent promised us in the aftermath of the flood: restoration. We expect them to stand by their words and their missions and put back what was — our schools. If it ain’t broke … don’t break it.

The superintendent keeps talking about “data.” We all know “data” can prove or disprove anything. All data on consolidation proves that bigger is never better — especially for low-income learners.

But we are neither data nor biological specimens dipped into formaldehyde to be coldly dissected. We are human beings. We are Richwood. We will crawl back without the schools, but we will sprint back with them. We want to be the tip of the arrow of the new West Virginia.

When we get our new middle and high schools back, we will have them to draw us together and draw people to us. We KNOW Richwood will come back. It’s just a matter of faith and time. But we must keep our small family-oriented schools. They are priority No. 1 — and our heart and soul. Please share our optimism and pray for us. Richwood: the town that wouldn’t die! That’s us.

Bob Henry Baber is mayor of Richwood.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • Tobacco Giants Agree to $49.4 Billion Takeover Deal:    Got a match? Twelve years ago, British American Tobacco acquired 42.3 percent of Reynolds American, which manufactures Camel cigarettes and is the leader in the U.S. e-cigarette market. Now, after a decade of agreed-upon standstill, BAT wants the rest of Reynolds - and it’s negotiated a $49.4 billion price tag for the remaining shares in a deal that’ll create the world’s biggest publicly traded tobacco company. Shares in BAT rose 1 percent as the deal, which still needs to be approved by shareholders, was announced today.    BLOOMBERG


  • Mass Incarceration Has Changed How Black Children Learn:    Prison changes lives on the outside too. Kids are directly impacted by disproportionately high rates of incarceration for people of color, a new study shows. One in 7 Black adolescents has had a parent in jail, which has a huge impact on developmental psychology and family life. But new research shows that mass incarceration directly affects educational achievement, too: When a parent goes to jail, children’s GPAs fall and mental health risks skyrocket, leading some to conclude that fixing America’s education system will also require tackling criminal justice policy.    THE ATLANTIC


  • ‘Dreamgirls’ Star Pulls Out of Inauguration; Threats Reported:    The star power is dwindling. Jennifer Holliday was set to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration, but dropped out, saying in a letter to LGBT fans that she didn’t realize performing would “be taken as a political act.“ But TMZ also reported that the Broadway star had received death threats. In addition, The B-Street Band, a Bruce Springsteen cover band, canceled an inaugural ball show after taking heat. With many big names passing, Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down and Lee Greenwood will headline the Lincoln Memorial concert on Friday.    Talking Points Memo


  • Private Company Raises Funds for Lunar Mission:    They’re going solo. Moon Express, Inc., the first private company to get permission to land on the moon, has announced that it has reached its $45 million funding goal to take part in Google’s Lunar XPRIZE competition, which challenges private companies to put a robot on the moon. But the Florida-based startup has bigger plans: It’s looking into mining lunar resources like Helium-3, a potential clean energy source, and the possibility of a future moon colony. Moon Express aims to launch its MX-1E spacecraft later this year.  TECH TIMES


  • How to reform private prisons in the age of Trump. Since we now know they aren’t going away anytime soon.  Vox

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  State Receives $285,000 in Funding for Food Program

West Virginia has received $285,000 in funding for a federal program aimed at helping low-income elderly people.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says the funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program will help distribute food to people in need. Along with the funding, he says West Virginia has received 5,000 caseload slots for the program.

Manchin says the funding will help the Mountaineer Food Bank and the Facing Hunger Food Bank provide services to West Virginians struggling to keep food on the table for themselves and their families.

The food program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It works to improve the health of low-income elderly people at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with USDA food.


►  Mon Health to purchase Stonewall Jackson Hospital

Mon Health System is acquiring Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Lewis County.

A letter of intent, signed Tuesday, touts a “combined integrated health delivery system designed to complement and enhance healthcare for patients in Lewis County and the surrounding region.”

Stonewall Jackson has been part of a one-year process to identify a health system partner.

In the next several months, Stonewall and Mon Health will begin planning the terms of their potential transaction. A formal closing date is expected before the end of 2017.

Mon Health has facilities and providers across north central West Virginia including Morgantown, Core, Mannington, Kingwood, Fairmont,

Reedsville, Elkins, and Fellowsville.


►  West Virginia Milk Drinkers Entitled To Cash In Class-Action Settlement

est Virginia residents who purchased milk any time since 2003 are eligible to receive cash as part of a $52 million class-action settlement with major US dairy producers.

In the suit, a trade group representing about 70 percent of the US dairy industry was accused by an animal welfare group of artificially inflating milk prices by slaughtering hundreds of thousands of cows.

The defendants agreed to pay $52 million without admitting or denying wrongdoing as part of the settlement in September.

The settlement entitles residents of West Virginia, 14 other states, and the District of Columbia, to collect their share of the cash if they purchased milk or milk products (such as cream, half & half, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or sour cream) at a grocery store anytime since 2003.

Proof of purchase is not required.

You can file a claim HERE.

The value of the individual payouts will depend on the number of claims filed. Individuals may receive between $5 and $20. Large-scale purchasers may receive between $140-$560, according to the website.

Claims will be paid into claimants’ online accounts such Paypal, the site says.

The deadline to file a claim is January 31.


►  West Virginia woman charged with tossing dog from car window

A West Virginia woman is charged with animal cruelty after her sister said the woman tossed a puppy from a moving car near Spartanburg.

A sheriff’s department report said 26-year-old Tracy Nicole Carr of Charleston, West Virginia, was charged with mistreatment of animals Sunday after her sister said a puppy was missing as she and her brother drove Carr home.

The woman said she asked Carr to keep the dog from climbing into the front seat. The woman said heard a thud after the window rolled down.

Carr told deputies the window accidentally rolled down and the dog jumped. She told deputies she hoped the dog died instantly.

The dog suffered a few cuts and a possible broken leg.

It was not known if Carr has an attorney.


►  No Outside Agency Probing Fatal Charleston Police Wreck

Charleston police have not asked any outside agency to investigate a wreck in which a woman died after her car collided with a city police cruiser that apparently did not have its sirens on.

Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster said investigators have been working with the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office to objectively review details of the January 4 collision.

Webster says Officer Stephen Doss was responding to a report of an armed burglary when he crashed into the unidentified woman’s car. She died five days later.

He says a preliminary investigation has found that Doss was speeding and did not activate the cruiser’s emergency lights or sirens.

Charleston police asked the West Virginia State Police to investigate a similar incident in 2005.


►  WVU Cancer Institute Gets New Director

Dr. Richard Goldberg, a gastrointestinal cancer expert, has been named the new director of the WVU Cancer Institute.

Goldberg comes from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where he is the Klotz Family Professor of Cancer Research, physician-in-chief of the James Cancer Hospital and associate director of the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Albert Wright, president of the West Virginia University Health System, says the state’s cancer burden is too high, and it’s the responsibility of the state’s flagship academic medical center to address that, and Goldberg has the leadership and experience to direct those efforts.

According to the institute, Goldberg’s research has resulted in more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, and he has held multiple National Cancer Institute-funded grants.


►  Lawsuit under consideration for those fired from Secretary of State’s office

Employees who were fired from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office as it changed hands from incumbent Democrat Natalie Tennant to Republican Mac Warner have hired a lawyer and are considering suing.

“If my investigation determines that it was discrimination or the impact of his policy was discriminatory in nature, then we will be filing a lawsuit,” their lawyer, Ben Salango, said in a telephone interview today.

During the post-election transition, Warner and his top staff sent a letter to Tennant providing notification that 16 positions in the office would be overturned. Thirteen current employees were named specifically with the others already departing for new jobs or retirement.

Some were top staff like the chief counsel and the chief of staff under Tennant. But others were long-time rank-and-file, like Rose McCoy, a business and licensing specialist who has worked in state government for 50 years.

Warner’s office has said each employee who wanted to remain with an office was given an interview but that a certain amount of turnover was necessary to put the office on a new path after the election.

Salango acknowleged that those who were fired are at-will employees but he said his initial impression is that they could have legal grievances.

“They are all at-will employees, but there are certain protected classes based on race, gender, age,” he said. “If you look at the ones he fired, most fall into these classes.”

He referred specifically to McCoy, saying, “One (employee) had worked there for 50 years..she started in 1967 and had been there through all those administrations.”

Mike Queen, the communications director under Warner, said today that the office is confident in the procedure it went through to select employees who would make the transition.

“It wasn’t like we just went in and picked people,” Queen said in a telephone interview.

“There was no consideration to what political party they belong to. There was no political persuasion given at all. If the attorneys that are investigating this, if they are doing a fair evaluation of the situation, they’ll realize it.”

Warner won election because voters and those who do business with the office wanted change, Queen said. And to change how the office workers, some turnover of personnel was necessary, Queen said.

“The logic used was that the November general election was a mandate for change,” he said. “It meant there had to be a mandate to change. Interviews were given. Everybody was interviewed. A review of each division within the Secretary of State’s office was reviewed. We had talked with county clerks and city clerks and business leaders about things we needed to improve upon.

“We made recommendations to Secretary Warner, and Secretary Warner acted on those recommendations.”

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

OBAMA COMMUTES CHELSEA MANNING’S PRISON SENTENCE

The president’s action in his final days in office will allow the convicted Army leaker to go free nearly three decades early.


PUTIN TAKES PARTING SHOT AT OBAMA

The Russian leader accuses the outdoing administration of trying to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s election with fake allegations.


TRUMP PICK FOR EDUCATION SECRETARY PUSHES SCHOOL CHOICE

At the same time, Betsy DeVos, during a sometimes contentious confirmation hearing, pledges not to dismantle public education.


HOW BRITAIN’S BREXIT IS PLAYING OUT

In a long-awaited speech, Prime Minister Theresa May makes clear that the U.K. will say goodbye to the single market, the European Court of Justice and the freedom of movement for workers.


AFTER THREE YEARS, SEARCH FOR MALAYSIA FLIGHT 370 SUSPENDED

Experts will continue analyzing data and scrutinizing debris washing ashore in a bid to narrow down where the jetliner crashed in the southern Indian Ocean with 239 people onboard.


WHAT ‘OBAMACARE’ REPEAL, WITHOUT REPLACEMENT, WOULD LOOK LIKE

Insurance premiums would jump sharply and some 18 million Americans would lose health coverage, Congress’ budget office estimates.


WIDOW OF ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB GUNMAN IN COURT

Noor Salman, 30, allegedly knew about the horrific attack ahead of time and faces charges that could carry up to life in prison.


REFUGEES KILLED IN ACCIDENTAL BOMBING

A Nigerian air force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombs a refugee camp, killing more than 100 people.


CAROLINE KENNEDY STEPPING DOWN AS AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN

In her three years on the job, Kennedy worked to deepen the U.S.-Japan relationship despite regular flare-ups over American military bases on Okinawa.


WHO’S POISED TO JOIN MLB IMMORTALS

Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell are likely to be voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Trevor Hoffman and Ivan Rodriguez, too, might make the grade.


Airbus intends to test autonomous airborne taxis by the end of 2017

Airbus last year formed a division called Urban Air Mobility that is exploring concepts such as a vehicle to transport individuals.


Pirate copies of this year’s big Hollywood movies are leaking online ahead of awards season

“Screeners” of critically acclaimed films like “Arrival” and “La La Land” have appeared on piracy websites in the last few days.


Mark Zuckerberg’s first stop on his tour of the U.S. is Dallas, Texas

Zuckerberg’s main reason for being in Dallas is to testify on Tuesday in a $2 billion lawsuit.


Samsung will announce on January 23 what caused Galaxy Note 7 phones to explode

It had to stop selling the phone after several devices caught on fire.


A Chinese tech investor led a $30 million investment in a Dorset jet engine startup

Kuang-Chi has invested $30 million in Dorset-based jet engine company Gilo Industries, valuing the firm at $80 million (£67 million).


“Angry Birds” maker Rovio will open a new games studio in London

The studio will focus on multiplayer games that aren’t in the “Angry Birds” franchise.


The “Google of China” wants to plot the world with a mapping company owned by Audi, BMW, and Daimler

Mapping company Here is going to help Chinese tech giant Baidu expand its mapping service to Europe and the rest of the world.


Two executives have left Skyscanner after it was bought for $1.68 billion

Skyscanner’s chief operating officer Mark Logan and chief commercial officer Frank Skivington left the company.


China is demanding that local app stores register with authorities

The Cyberspace Administration of China wants control over apps.


A judge in South Korea will decide on Wednesday whether to arrest Samsung boss Jay Y. Lee

The prosecutor’s office has accused Lee, 48, of paying bribes totaling 43 billion won ($36.55 million) to organizations linked to Choi Soon-sil, a friend of the president.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, January 11, 2017 new Family Court Judge Steve Jones heard matters in Gilmer County Family Court.


•  He heard 8 matters with 3 cases having temporary orders entered.


•  One divorce was granted wherein Lorrie McCord (38) of Glenville, WV divorced Jackie McCord (51) of Burnsville, WV.


•  The remainder of the cases will have orders prepared by the child advocate bureau and are not available at this time.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►  5 Hottest U.S. Housing Markets

Seeking a place to call home that won’t clean out your bank account—and might even go up in value? While cities like New York City and San Francisco are driving people away with exorbitant rents and mortgages, per CBS News, there are some cities where owning a home can actually prove a wise endeavor, with home values on the rebound. “These hot markets are experiencing change as more people discover them,“ Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist, says for the company’s latest market trends update. Check out what Zillow says are the five top housing markets in the US (and the percentage appreciation expected in the coming year):

  1. Nashville, Tenn., 4.3%
  2. Seattle, 5.6%
  3. Provo, Utah, 4.3%
  4. Orlando, Fla., 5.7%
  5. Salt Lake City, 4.3%

Check out which other hot markets made the LIST.


►  Here’s Where the Obamas Are Heading Post-Inauguration

The Obamas are heading to Palm Springs after Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, sources tell TMZ. They’ll take a helicopter (not Marine One since President Obama won’t be President Obama anymore by that point) from the Capitol to Andrews Air Force Base, and from there, Special Air Mission 29,000—the same plane that is currently known as Air Force One, but won’t be called that anymore—will fly them to California. When they head back to DC, where they’ll continue to live until Sasha Obama graduates high school, they won’t be taking a government plane.


►  Women’s march in DC an echo of the past

Thousands of women take to the streets of Washington, demanding a greater voice for women in American political life as a new president takes power.

This will happen on Saturday, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump.

This DID happen more than 100 years ago, one day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson.

So notable was the women’s suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on March 3, 1913, that Wilson slipped into town almost unnoticed on the eve of his swearing-in, forced to travel back alleys to reach his hotel.

“Scarcely a score of persons noticed his automobile as it whizzed through the silent streets, and only a few applauded him as he reached his hotel,“ The New York Times reported at the time.

Meanwhile, more than 5,000 women marched from the Capitol to the steps of the Treasury Department in a parade that featured nine bands, four mounted brigades and two dozen floats.

The procession proved so pivotal in the struggle to give women the right to vote that it will be depicted on the back of the new $10 bill scheduled to be issued in 2020 — 100 years after women won the vote with ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

This year, more than a century later, throngs of woman on Saturday will march a route similar to the suffragists’ in an echo of the past. Women still are seeking a stronger voice in society as a new president is inaugurated who repeatedly demeaned women during his election campaign. The marchers’ mission statement pledges: “We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.“

The 1913 women’s march, timed to get maximum publicity by coinciding with the inauguration, was not without controversy.

According to the Library of Congress’ American Memory archives, crowds in town for the inauguration — mostly men — surged into the streets and made it difficult for the marchers to pass, forcing them to go single file at times. Women were jeered, tripped, shoved and spat upon, and police did little to assist them or quell the unrest. Some 100 marchers were taken to the hospital with injuries.

The participants included Helen Keller, the deaf and blind political activist and author. She was so unnerved by the disruptions that she was unable to speak later that day at Continental Hall.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson authorized a troop of cavalry to help control the crowd, according to the archives.

The treatment of the women by the crowd and police led to congressional hearings and the ouster of the District of Columbia’s police chief.

“If I had had a policeman’s billy, I would have got that crowd back,“ one suffragist testified at the hearings, The Times reported.

The controversy ultimately worked to the women’s advantage, producing broad and sympathetic press coverage for their cause.


►  Years after slayings, some seek relief in killer’s execution

The brutal murders of a well-known Richmond couple and their young daughters as they were preparing to host a New Year’s party sent shock waves through Virginia’s capital city. More than 11 years later, some hope the execution of a man convicted in their deaths will close a painful chapter of this community’s history.

“I do not think we should be saddled with the cost of keeping that heinous murderer alive,“ said Steve Tarrant, who lived near the slain family and still gets emotional when he talks about watching their bodies being carried out of their home. “I think his execution will help effect a closure,“ the 76-year-old said.

Ricky Gray is scheduled to be put to death January 18 for the murders of 9-year-old Stella Harvey and 4-year-old sister, Ruby. Gray and his nephew Ray Dandridge were looking for a home to rob on New Year’s Day 2006 when they spotted the Harveys’ open door and walked in. The girls and their parents, Bryan and Kathryn Harvey, who were cooking a chili dinner for gathering they were hosting, were found in the basement of their burning home, bound, beaten and stabbed, with their throats cut.

Gray, now 39, also confessed to participating in the killing of 21-year-old Ashley Baskerville, her mother Mary Baskerville-Tucker and stepfather Percyell Tucker in their Richmond home less than a week later, but wasn’t tried in that case. Gray and Dandridge said Ashley Baskerville had served as a lookout for them during the Harvey slayings.

The families’ killings put the city on edge for weeks. After more than a decade, many still struggle to discuss the crimes.

“I am still incapable of describing what happened in that basement without getting choked up,“ said Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring, who prosecuted Gray. “I don’t know if you ever get closure from something like that. I think if you’re lucky, over time you forget, but I don’t know if you ever reach closure.“

After the slayings, Gray told police: “I just want to die.“

Now he’s asking Governor Terry McAuliffe to spare his life, saying that the childhood sexual abuse he suffered — and subsequent drug use — provides an understanding of his behavior that wasn’t offered to jurors.

Gray’s attorneys say he was repeatedly raped by his older brother and beaten by his father as a child and used powerful drugs to numb the effects of the abuse. Gray claims he doesn’t really remember the Harvey slayings because he was high on PCP. Gray’s attorneys are also challenging the state’s plans to use lethal injection drugs from a secret compounding pharmacy, saying they will result in a cruel and painful death.

Kathryn Harvey was co-owner of a popular Richmond toy store, the World of Mirth, and Bryan Harvey was a guitarist and singer for the rock duo House of Freaks. Bryan’s sister, Paige Harvey, declined to comment and said her family doesn’t wish to speak to the media.

Tarrant, who lived across the street from the Harveys, described them as the “ideal” family — “straight from a 1950-era TV family show.“

Gray was sentenced to death for the murders of the Harvey children and to life in prison for the killings of their parents. Gray was never tried for the Baskerville-Tucker killings, but would have been if prosecutors didn’t reach an appropriate verdict in the Harvey case, Herring said.

Dandridge, Gray’s nephew, pleaded guilty for the Baskerville-Tucker killings and is serving a life sentence.

Perycell Tucker was a forklift operator and Mary Baskerville-Tucker worked at a dry cleaner. Her sister, Daisy Adams, called her the kind of person who “would have given you the clothes off her back.“ Adams said she hopes to watch Gray’s execution, and believes it will bring her some relief after 11 difficult years.

“They holler about him suffering. What do they think about those kids that suffered?“ Adams said.

Gray’s attorneys said recently that while he should be punished for his crimes, he shouldn’t be executed for the “long-lasting and terrible consequences of the abuse that shaped his life.“ Attorneys Rob Lee and Jonathan Sheldon said Gray has been “an exemplary prisoner and has demonstrated that he would continue to live peacefully behind bars if a commutation were granted.“

They have declined to make Gray available for an interview.

Dozens of mental health professionals and other advocates have also urged McAuliffe to grant Gray clemency.

In a statement released by his lawyers, Gray said “remorse is not a deep enough word” for how he feels.

“I’ve stolen Christmas, birthdays, and Easters, Thanksgivings, graduations, and weddings, children. There’s nothing I can do to make up for that,“ Gray said. He added: “I’m sorry they had to be a victim of my despair.“


►  King Day highlights transition from Obama to Trump

As Americans celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leaders and activists are trying to reconcile the transition from the nation’s first black president to a president-elect still struggling to connect with most non-white voters.

King’s daughter on Monday encouraged Americans to fight for the slain civil rights leader’s vision of love and justice “no matter who is in the White House.“

In Atlanta, Bernice King addressed more than 2,000 people gathered at her father’s Ebenezer Baptist Church four days before Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. She spoke on the same day that her brother, Martin Luther King III, met privately with the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York.

Trump won fewer than 1 out of 10 black voters in November after a campaign of racially charged rhetoric, and tensions have flared anew with his recent criticism of civil rights icon John Lewis, whom the president-elect called “all talk” and “no action.“

Bernice King avoided a detailed critique of Trump, but said the nation still has a choice between “chaos and community,“ as her father once said.

“At the end of the day, the Donald Trumps come and go,“ Bernice King said. But, she added “we still have to find a way to create” what her father called “the beloved community.“

The current Ebenezer pastor, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, avoiding calling Trump by name, but praised his predecessor. “Thank you, Barack Obama,“ he said. “I’m sad to see you go.“

In South Carolina, speakers at a state Capitol rally reminded attendees that minority voters’ power at the ballot box has never been more important, while some attendees expressed unease about Trump joining the Republican majorities that control Capitol Hill.

“It’s going to be different, that’s for sure,“ said Diamond Moore, a Benedict College senior who came to the Capitol. “I’m going to give Trump a chance. But I’m also ready to march.“

Martin Luther King III told reporters in New York that his meeting with Trump was “productive.“ He said Trump pledged to be a president for all Americans, but King III added “we also have to consistently engage with pressure, public pressure” because “it doesn’t happen automatically.“

Back in Atlanta, Senator Bernie Sanders brought the Ebenezer assembly to its feet with his reminder that King was not just an advocate for racial equality, but a radical proponent for economic justice — a mission that put him at odds with the political establishment.

“If you think governors and senators and mayors were standing up and saying what a great man Dr. King was, read history, because you are sorely mistaken,“ roared Sanders, who invoked the same themes from his failed presidential campaign.

Sanders, who struggled to attract black voters in his Democratic primary fight with Hillary Clinton, recalled King opposing the Vietnam War as exploiting the poor. He also noted King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he’d gone to rally striking sanitation workers, white and black.

Truly honoring King, Sanders said, means bringing that “spirit and courage into the arena in 2017.“

Activist priest Michael Pfleger, himself a self-described radical, built on Sanders’ message with a 45-minute keynote message indicting the nation’s social and economic order — a structure he said would get worse under Trump.

The Chicago priest said “white hoods” of the Ku Klux Klan “have been replaced by three-piece suits.“ He bemoaned high incarceration rates, a “militarized, stop-and-frisk police state,“ profligate spending on war, and a substandard education system.

Pfleger said many Americans too quickly dismiss violence in cities as the fault of those who live there, when the real culprit is poverty. “If you put two lions in a cage and you don’t feed them,“ he said, “one will kill the other in the pursuit of survival.“

Warnock, meanwhile, zeroed in on Trump for his treatment of Lewis, now a Georgia congressman who represents most of Atlanta.

Lewis angered Trump when he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he views Trump as “illegitimate” because of alleged Russian interference in the campaign. Trump retorted on Twitter that Lewis is “all talk” and said his district is “falling apart” and “crime infested.“

“Anybody who suggests that John Lewis is all talk and no action needs a lesson in American history,“ Warnock said, notably declining to say the president-elect’s name.

As a young man, Lewis was arrested and beaten by authorities as he demonstrated for civil and voting rights for black Americans.

Lewis was in Miami at King Day events.

Some Republicans have defended Trump’s criticism of Lewis, arguing it is inappropriate for a congressman to question an incoming president’s legitimacy.

Clara Smith, an Atlanta resident who came Monday to Ebenezer, scoffed at any GOP indignation, remembering that Trump for years questioned whether Obama was a “natural born citizen” as the Constitution requires.

“He carried on with that knowing full well what he was doing” to the first black president, Smith said.

Smith, 66, recalled joining sit-ins and lunch counters of segregated restaurants in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She said she tries to “ignore” Trump and “his foolishness with the Twitter,“ but “with everything that’s happening around us ... we have to pass along that history.“

Elsewhere, residents in Memphis are honoring King with neighborhood clean-up events and a daylong celebration at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Bicyclists in Detroit have marked the day by pedaling to sites connected to a historic visit King made to the city.


►  Abortion Rate Hits Lowest Point Since 1974

Even as the election outcome intensifies America’s abortion debate, a comprehensive new survey finds the annual number of abortions in the US has dropped to well under 1 million, the lowest level since 1974, reports the AP. The report, which counted 926,200 abortions in 2014, was released Tuesday by the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. The total from 2014 represented a drop of 12.5% from Guttmacher’s 2011 data showing 1.06 million abortions that year. The decrease was spread nationwide; in only six states did abortions increase over the three-year span. The abortion rate of 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2014 was the lowest rate since abortion was legalized nationally in 1973.

The number of abortions in the US rose steadily after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, reaching a peak of 1.6 million in 1990 before starting a decline. Guttmacher researchers say the latest phase of the decline was likely the result of increased availability of affordable, long-lasting contraceptives and the surge of abortion restrictions in many states that have forced some clinics to close and hindered many women’s access to the procedure. According to the report, the number of abortion clinics nationwide declined by 6% from 839 in 2011 to 788 in 2014. Planned Parenthood, a major supplier of contraceptives, provided more than one-third of the nation’s abortions in 2014. Republicans are now seeking to halt its federal funding.


►  John Lewis-Trump Feud Gets Ugly in Georgia

Donald Trump’s feud with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia was making political headlines on Martin Luther King Day. Coverage:

  • The New York Times explores how it further frays Trump’s ties with an African-American community already wary of him. “I don’t think we have ever had a president so publicly condescending to what black politics means,“ says a Duke professor.
  • A GOP county commissioner in Georgia’s Gwinnett County, Tommy Hunter, is facing calls to resign after he wrote online that Lewis is a “racist pig.“ See the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • In a speech marking MLK Day, Lewis did not mention Trump, instead telling personal stories of his own civil rights battles and preaching non-violence. “The way of love is a better way,“ he said, per NBC News.
  • Michelle Obama tweeted her support of Lewis today.
  • Martin Luther King III met with Trump Monday, and while he praised Lewis, he also sought to tamp down the controversy. “Things get said on both sides in the heat of emotion. And at some point in this nation, we’ve got to move forward.” See the Los Angeles Times.
  • So far, nearly 28 Democratic members of Congress vow to skip the inauguration, reports the BBC.
  • A blogger at the liberal Daily Kos says Lewis went too far in saying Trump was not a “legitimate president.“ Democrats must admit it or face charges of hypocrisy, reads the post here.
  • Mike Pence is “so disappointed” in Lewis, he tells Fox News.
  • Trump slammed Lewis’ Atlanta district as crime-ridden and “falling apart,“ and those who live there were surprised to hear it and eager to rebut the charge. See the Wall Street Journal.
  • Columnist Paul Krugman defends Lewis’ original slam of Trump as “an act of patriotism.“ Read it in the New York Times.
  • Columnist David Weigel writes that Democrats, including Lewis, appear to have learned that “explosive rhetoric” of the sort mastered by Trump is the new normal. Welcome to the “New Rudeness,“ he writes at the Washington Post.


►  U.S. Teen Died in Mexican Shooting, Stampede

An American is among the five dead after a shooting and stampede in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Monday. Alejandra Villanueva Ibarra of Denver “fell” while trying to escape the Blue Parrot nightclub during a BPM electronic music festival, the Denver Post reports via a GoFundMe page set up by Ibarra’s brother. ABC News reports the 18-year-old was “hit,“ and Ignacio Valencia of Houston, who was shot in the arms, says he was with her when she died. “I was just in shock and I just couldn’t move,“ he says. “Her last words to me [were], ‘I don’t feel anything. I don’t feel anything.‘“ Like her brother, Valencia describes Ibarra as a provider for her single mother and two younger siblings who was studying to become a teacher.

No other details about Ibarra’s death have been released. The four other victims have been identified as Rafael Penaloza Vega and Geovanni Ruiz Murillo, both of Mexico; BPM staff member Daniel Pessina of Italy; and Canadian Kirk Wilson, a 49-year-old security officer and father of two, per the AP. Officials say fifteen others were injured, including four Americans. Eight have now been released from hospital. It isn’t clear who among them was shot or trampled. The gunman—who officials say entered the club and began exchanging gunfire with another person—is believed to have escaped. However, three people were arrested near the club after another shooting; officials are trying to determine if the two shootings were related.


►  For 12 Hours, Teen Clung to Tree in Freezing Water

As Natalie Griffin clung to a branch as a river swelled below her, she imagined that her friend—who was dead—was speaking to her. “She said, ‘It’s OK, you can’t think you are going to die,‘“ Griffin tells People. The thought helped calm her as she sat atop the branch for 12 hours in freezing weather following a car accident in California’s Mendocino County on Wednesday. Griffin and her friend Jenna Santos, both 19, had been driving on Highway 101 during a rainstorm, with Santos at the wheel, when the car began hydroplaning, flipped, and landed on its wheels in a swollen creek, reports the East Bay Times. As the car began filling with water, the women kicked out the windshield, hoping to escape, but the water only flooded the vehicle faster.

With water at the teens’ necks, Griffin noticed the back window was also broken and told Santos to follow her out of it, reports the Press Democrat. But she was quickly carried downstream. “I remember reaching from the water and grabbing onto a branch and I pulled myself up,“ she says. Santos never emerged from the car, and Griffin spent the next 12 hours on the branch in a light jacket as temperatures dropped to 28 degrees. “I thought I was going to die,“ Griffin says, though she was eventually able to cross the creek and flag down a car. At a hospital, she was treated for hypothermia, with her body temperature at 90 degrees. “She was so brave,“ says Griffin’s cousin. But pain clouds Griffin’s tale of survival. “This girl, who is like a sister to me, is just gone,“ she says.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►  A Hard Brexit Is Confirmed

British Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear: the UK will make a clean break from the European Union and leave its single market of some 500 million people. In her most direct remarks since the June 23 vote, May says Britain must regain control of its laws and borders, even as she calls on the bloc to negotiate a free-trade agreement that will benefit both sides, reports the AP. “We do not seek membership of the single market,“ she said Tuesday. “Instead, we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement.“ May also made the EU an offer—she hopes—that it can’t refuse: arguing that a “cliff-edge for business or a threat to stability” is good for neither Europe nor Britain.

She said “a punitive deal that punishes Britain and discourages other countries from taking the same path” would be “an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe.“ May—who said she would formally begin a two-year process of negotiating Britain’s departure on March 31—also acknowledged for the first time that Britain’s Parliament will be able to vote on the final divorce deal reached between the UK and European Union. However, she did not address what would happen should there be a vote against the agreement. The British pound rallied from steep losses earlier in the week as May focused on keeping Britain open to global trade, trading 2.2% higher at $1.23. On Monday, it was as low as $1.20, a near 31-year low.


►  Moby Dick Restaurant’s ‘Offensive’ Name Spawns Suit

If they had just called it Ishmael, none of this would have happened. A British Columbia company has filed a lawsuit against a building council that refuses to let it lease a unit it owns to a Moby Dick Restaurant fish-and-chips franchise because the second word in the eatery’s name has been deemed an “offensive term,“ Courthouse News reports. The plaintiff, Mengfa International, has owned the unit since 2010, and it had initially leased the restaurant space to an Asian-fusion restaurant starting in 2014, per the suit. But after that restaurant started having money troubles, Moby Dick Restaurant came onto the scene in May and agree to a lease-and-purchase arrangement that would seemingly solve everyone’s problems. However, that arrangement was rejected by the building in July.

Per the complaint, the building council alleges signs and other markers with the objectionable moniker would sully the brands of other properties in the building, including by lowering property values. The council also says that litter and restaurant-related odors and “fumes” would proliferate if the restaurant were allowed to open. The suit scoffs at claims that the name would somehow cause nearby property values to plummet, noting that it’s a seafood restaurant in a waterfront community—right up the name’s alley. Mengfa adds it would do its part to keep litter under control and points out it would be using the very same kitchen ventilation system (and would even upgrade it) as the previous restaurant in that space. As for the name fracas overall: “Moby Dick” is “not offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame,“ the suit notes.


►  China aircraft carrier capabilities tested on latest mission

China’s sole aircraft carrier has returned home following a far-ranging three-week training mission during which its combat capabilities were closely scrutinized and speculation soared over what future role the flat-top will play amid China’s growing military ambitions.

The Defense Ministry said the 60,000-ton Liaoning sailed in to the eastern port of Qingdao on Friday along with its battle group that includes destroyers, frigates, a supply ship and anti-submarine craft.

The ministry quoted the group’s commander, Rear Adm. Chen Yueqi, as saying the drill simulated real combat as closely as possible and “achieved all targets set for it.“ China commissioned the carrier in 2012 and declared it combat ready in November, shortly after which it launched its first live-fire exercises.

The cruise that began on Christmas Day took it through the Miyako Strait, south of Okinawa, Japan, and then the Bashi Channel separating Taiwan from the Philippines as it entered the disputed South China Sea that China claims virtually in its entirety.

It headed home through the Taiwan Strait in what was seen by many as a threatening message to the island’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it was closely monitoring the passage but that there was no cause for alarm.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing has vowed never to renounce its threat to use force to recover what it considers lost territory.

Japanese and Taiwanese surveillance aircraft and ships closely monitored the Liaoning along its journey, seen by some as a sign of how China plans to use it to demonstrate its willingness to back up its territorial claims with military muscle.

The Liaoning originated in 1990 as the unfinished Varyag for the now-defunct Soviet fleet. Purchased as a shell by China in 1998, it was towed from the Black Sea to the northeastern Chinese port of Dalian where it underwent an extensive overhaul of its hull, radar, electronics and other systems.

Designated first as an experimental and training platform, the Liaoning represents a new degree of sophistication in the Chinese armed forces that includes ballistic missile submarines and prototype stealth fighters. It’s also considered a blueprint for future Chinese carriers built using entirely domestic technology, at least one of which has been under construction since 2015.

Yet, analysts point out major limitations in both the carrier’s design and the Chinese navy’s ability to utilize its full capabilities.

Considerably smaller than the 100,000-ton U.S. Nimitz-class carriers, it can carry just 24 fixed-wing aircraft compared to 55 for the American flat-tops, according to a recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

While the Liaoning’s J-15 multirole fighters — a Chinese version of the Russian Su-33 — are highly capable, they lack the low-observable stealth technology of fifth-generation fighters such as the U.S. F-35C.

CSIS also says the ship’s Soviet steam turbine power plant was badly designed and poorly maintained, probably limiting it to a typical speed of around 20 knots. That is far slower than the Nimitz-class’ 30 knots, meaning it would take longer to arrive at target and be less able to flee from threats.

Its aircraft are also launched from a “ski jump” style deck rather than the powerful steam catapults that U.S. carriers use, requiring China’s jets to use more fuel for takeoff and limiting them to smaller payloads.

The Liaoning’s pilots and crew are also far less experienced than their American counterparts, although they benefit from lessons learned by the U.S. and others in the decades since carriers entered operation, CSIS said. Other analysts point out that the Liaoning doesn’t appear yet able to launch and recover aircraft at night, a crucial ingredient for combat effectiveness.

The CSIS study concludes that those shortcomings make the Liaoning unsuited for “sustained, high-intensity combat operations,“ at least for now. That will likely restrict it to humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, training and diplomatic missions and cruises in the South China Sea asserting Beijing’s territorial claims.

Despite that, the Liaoning “represents an important step in advancing China’s ability to project naval power,“ the study said.

“Regardless of the Liaoning’s future abilities, the ship commands a degree of political utility as a tool of naval diplomacy through various operations, regional and global.“


►  Mexican resort shooting kills 5, panics festival-goers

Gunfire broke out at a crowded beachfront nightclub throbbing with electronic music on Monday, leaving five people dead and setting off a bloody stampede by screaming concertgoers at an international festival in the Caribbean resort of Playa del Carmen.

Quintana Roo state Attorney General Miguel Angel Pech ruled out any terror attack, but said the shooting erupted when festival security personnel tried to stop a man from entering the Blue Parrot club with a gun.

Three of those killed were part of the security detail at the 10-day BPM electronic music festival, Pech said. State officials said the dead included two Canadians, an Italian and a Colombian. The gunman apparently fled.

“I was thinking it was the same thing that happened in Paris, some guy just walking in and shooting people at a restaurant, bang bang bang, a terrorist attack,“ said New Zealand tourist Tyler Klee, who was outside the club when shots rang out.

“Everyone run, everyone was terrified, looking for their friends ... We were running away and then you hear more shots fired, like you don’t know if you’re going to shot in the back or not.“

His friend Ben Forbes, from Australia, said “it happened pretty quickly as well ... You still didn’t know where they were, how many there were.“

The shots set off a rush for the exits that accounted for at least some of the injuries. The lone female victim was apparently killed during the stampede. Rescue workers tended to bloodied survivors and Pech said 15 people were injured, included one Mexican woman who was seriously injured.

Pech said eight of the injured — including two U.S. citizens — had been treated for less serious injuries at local hospitals and released. Canada’s Global Affairs office confirmed at least one Canadian died, said it was investigating the other reported fatality, and said at least two Canadians were injured.

Italy’s Foreign Ministry confirmed one its citizens died.

The attorney general said a lone gunman apparently tried to enter the nightclub at about 2:30 a.m., but was denied access because he had a gun.

The gunman began to exchange fire with another person inside, he said, and festival security personnel who tried to stop the shooting came under fire. He said 20 bullet casings from three different pistols had been found at the scene, and said it was unclear if the security detail had been armed or fired any of the weapons.

Pech said the gunman himself apparently escaped, though three people had been detained nearby. It was not known if they had been involved in the shooting.

“We know of another shooting incident that occurred near the nightclub, but we are investigating whether that is related” to the nightclub shootings,“ Pech said.

The government of the township that includes Playa de Carmen referred in a statement to “attackers who fired shots,“ but did not provide further details.

Rodolfo Del Angel, director of police in Quintana Roo, told the Milenio TV station that he shooting was the result of “a disagreement between people inside” the nightclub and said security guards had come under fire when they tried to contain the dispute.

Playa del Carmen has largely been spared the violence that has hit other parts of Mexico.


►  Eyewear giant to emerge from tie-up of Luxottica, Essilor

A new European eyewear giant worth more than 50 billion euros ($52.5 billion) is set to emerge as Italy’s Luxottica — owner of Ray-Ban and Oakley glasses — merges with French lens manufacturer Essilor.

Essilor International SA said Monday it had reached a share exchange deal with Luxottica’s main shareholder, Delfin, to create a combined company making both frames and lenses.

Shares jumped in both Luxottica, which is based in Milan, and Essilor, headquartered near Paris.

The new company would have combined revenues of more than 15 billion euros ($16 billion), 140,000 employees and sales in more than 150 countries. Including Monday’s share gains, the overall market capitalization would exceed 50 billion euros.

Essilor said the merger is an effort to meet growing global demand for corrective lenses, sunglasses and luxury frames.

The boards of Essilor and Luxottica approved the merger in meetings Sunday. The deal still needs to go through Essilor’s works council and French labor procedures.

Luxottica had long been the giant in the sector, with big acquisitions in the U.S. including Ray-Ban. It also does licensing for many fashion brands, including Prada, Chanel, Armani, Burberry and Dolce&Gabbana.

A family-run company based in the prosperous Veneto region, Luxottica was seen as a virtuous example of generational transition when the founder brought in an outside CEO, Andrea Guerra, in 2004. But after 10 years, the founder, Leonardo Del Vecchio, took back the reins.

“We will continue to invest in Italy and France. We want to be the European champion that strongly maintains its roots,“ Del Vecchio told an investor conference call.

Del Vecchio would become executive chairman and CEO of the new entity, called EssilorLuxottica. The chairman and CEO of Essilor, Hubert Sagnieres, will become executive vice president and deputy CEO.

Delfin would be the largest shareholder, owning between 31 percent and 38 percent of the new company.

Shares in Luxottica jumped 8.5 percent to 53.75 euros in Milan, while Essilor’s rose 12 percent to 114.30 euros.


►  As robots take jobs, Europeans mull free money for all

I am, therefore I’m paid.

The radical notion that governments should hand out free money to everyone — rich and poor, those who work and those who don’t — is slowly but surely gaining ground in Europe. Yes, you read that right: a guaranteed monthly living allowance, no strings attached.

In France, two of the seven candidates vying to represent the ruling Socialist Party in this year’s presidential election are promising modest but regular stipends to all French adults. A limited test is already underway in Finland, with other experiments planned elsewhere, including in the United States.

Called “universal income” by some, “universal basic income” or just “basic income” by others, the idea has been floated in various guises since at least the mid-19th century. After decades on the fringes of intellectual debate, it became more mainstream in 2016, with Switzerland holding a referendum — and overwhelmingly rejecting — a proposed basic income of around $2,500 per month.

“An incredible year,“ says Philippe Van Parijs, a founder of the Basic Income Earth Network that lobbies for such payments. “There has been more written and said on basic income than in the whole history of mankind.“

But before you write a resignation letter to your boss in anticipation of never needing to work again, be warned: there are multiple questions, including how to finance such schemes. Here is a look at the issues:

___

WHY THE MOUNTING INTEREST?

In a word, robots. With automated systems and machines increasingly replacing human workers, France could lose 3 million jobs by 2025, says Benoit Hamon, a former education minister campaigning for the French presidency on a promise of gradually introducing no-strings-attached payments for all. As work becomes scarcer, a modest but regular guaranteed income would stop people from fearing the future and free up their time for family, the needy and themselves, he argues.

It could also encourage people to take risks, start businesses and try new activities without the risk of losing welfare benefits.

The other pro-basic income candidate for the Socialist Party presidential ticket is outsider Jean-Luc Bennahmias. Like Hamon, the former European Parliament lawmaker argues that it is pointless to expect the return of economic boom times, with jobs for all.

“Growth at two, three, four or five percent in western countries: it’s finished,“ he said in a televised debate last week. “We have to speak the truth.“

Outside research backs up their arguments. An Oxford University study in 2015 estimated nearly half of the American workforce is at risk of automation.

___

PUT TO THE TEST

Finland’s small-scale, two-year trial that started January 1 aims to answer a frequent question from basic income opponents: With a guaranteed 560 euros ($600) a month, will the 2,000 human guinea pigs — drawn randomly from Finland’s unemployed — just laze around?

Budget constraints and opposition from multiple quarters stymied ambitions for a broader test, says Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA, which is responsible for the country’s social benefits.

“It’s a pretty watered down version,“ he said in a telephone interview. “We had to make a huge number of compromises.“

Still, he argues that such studies are essential in helping societies prepare for changed labor markets of the future.

“I’m not saying that basic income is the solution,“ he said. “I’m just saying that it’s a solution that we have to think about.“

In the Netherlands, the city of Utrecht this year plans to trial no-strings welfare payments that will also allow test groups to work on the side if they choose — again, in part, to study the effect on their motivation to find work.

To prepare for “a world where technology replaces existing jobs and basic income becomes necessary,“ Silicon Valley startup financier Y Combinator says it plans a pilot study in Oakland, California, paying recipients an unconditional income because “we want to see how people experience that freedom.“

___

THE COST

Obviously, expensive. Hamon proposes the gradual introduction of basic income schemes in France, starting with 600 euros ($640) per month for the nation’s poor and 18-25-year-olds before scaling up payments to 750 euros ($800) for all adults — for a total estimated annual cost of 400 billion euros ($425 billion).

Part of the cost could be financed by taxing goods and services produced by automated systems and machines, he says. Opponents argue that doing so would simply prompt companies to move robots elsewhere, out of reach of French tax collectors.

Doing away with housing, family, poverty and unemployment benefits could free up more than 100 billion euros ($106 billion) to fold into a replacement basic income scheme.

There’d also be less red tape, saving money that way, too, but switching to basic income would still require new taxes, a 2016 Senate report said.

It estimated that paying everyone 500 to 1,000 euros ($530-$1,100) per month would cost 300 billion to 700 billion euros ($745 billion-$320 billion) annually. It recommended starting with three-year pilot schemes with trials involving 20,000-30,000 people.

___

THE CONS

Costs aside, opponents argue that guaranteed incomes would promote laziness and devalue the concept of work. Hamon’s opponents for the Socialist presidential ticket dispute as false his argument that jobs for humans are growing scarcer.

Ultimately, to see the light of day, basic income schemes will need political champions, said Van Parijs.

“We need radical ideas as targets and then we need clever tinkering to move in that direction,“ he said.


►  Venezuela debuts new banknotes amid soaring inflation

Venezuelans are standing in long ATM lines to take out new, larger-denominated bills that President Nicolas Maduro hopes will help stabilize the crisis-wracked economy.

Maduro last month said he was scrapping circulation of the most-used 100-bolivar note and replacing it with new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars.

Residents in Caracas expressed shock at seeing bills with so many zeros. But triple-digit inflation has destroyed many families’ purchasing power and even the largest of the new bills is worth less than $6 on the black market.

Also on Monday, the government plans to inaugurate special foreign exchange houses near the border to stamp out the black market and attract badly needed hard currency from Colombian shoppers who frequently cross into Venezuela for bargain-hunting.


►  Defiant EU nations ready themselves for Trump presidency

European Union nations bracing for the looming Donald Trump presidency showed defiance Monday in the face of the president-elect’s stinging comments on everything from NATO and German cars to the crumbling of the EU itself.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the U.S. president-elect’s view that NATO was obsolete and his criticism that European allied members aren’t paying their fair share had “caused astonishment.“

Trump also said Britain’s decision to leave the 28-nation European Union would “end up being a great thing,“ and he predicted that other countries would also leave.

At a meeting of EU ministers, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the best response to such comments was simple — “it is the unity of the Europeans.“

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted: “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands.“

“I’m personally going to wait until the American president takes office, and then we will naturally work with him on all levels,“ she told reporters.

French President Francois Hollande was even more outspoken in his defiance.

Europe “has no need for outside advice to tell it what to do,“ Hollande said at a ceremony for outgoing U.S. ambassador in Paris Jane Hartley.

“Europe will always be willing to pursue trans-Atlantic cooperation, but it will base its decisions on its interests and its values,“ he added.

Some EU officials fear Trump’s frequent, often acerbic Twitter postings might be the prelude to a caustic presidency after Friday’s inauguration.

“We are going to move away from, I guess, a kind of Twitter diplomacy, and then into a reality,“ said Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen, adding that reality could be “perhaps more difficult than what is going on on Twitter.“

EU foreign ministers were already worried what Trump might do beyond their continent. They came out against any plan by Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and warned that it could ratchet up tensions with the Arab world.

“It is very important for us all to refrain from unilateral actions,“ EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said. “We hope that there can be reflection on consequences of any move that is taken,“ she said.

Although Trump had made similar statements about NATO during his election campaign, his recent comments still came as a bit of a surprise since his choice for defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, stressed his support for the NATO military alliance in his U.S. congressional confirmation hearing last week.

Trump’s views, in an interview published Monday with German daily Bild and The Times of London, contradict Mattis, Steinmeier said.

“If one compares the positions of the designated president and the future foreign and defense ministers, then one can’t discern a common foreign policy line among the new U.S. government,“ he said.

There have even been fears the U.S. military commitment to Europe would wane under Trump. A German newspaper group reports that Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has urged Trump to continue meeting the U.S.‘s financial obligations toward the alliance.

“Since World War II, the presence of U.S. troops has been a prerequisite for rebuilding the continent, safeguarding peace and ensuring security,“ she told the RND network of some 30 German papers.

“We expect continuity from the new U.S. administration. Trump must maintain this leadership role, to ensure security, stability and peace,“ she was quoted as saying.

Trump indicated he was indifferent to whether the EU stays together or not, a sharp break from the Obama administration, which encouraged British people to vote to remain in the EU in the June referendum.

“I believe others will leave ... I do think keeping it together is not gonna be as easy as a lot of people think,“ Trump said in the interview.

The British exit from the EU would “end up being a great thing,“ he said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it’s “very good news that the United States of America wants to do a good free trade deal with us and wants to do it very fast.“

Trump was less kind to German industry officials, saying car manufacturers including BMW could face tariffs of up to 35 percent if they set up plants in Mexico instead of in the U.S. and try to export the cars to the U.S.

Such tariffs would make the American auto industry “worse, weaker and more expensive,“ Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s economy minister, told Bild.

Gabriel suggested Europeans should exhibit more self-confidence in dealing with Trump. “We’re not weak and inferior,“ he said.

Whatever his goal, Trump’s comments were strong enough to make him the talk of the town in European capitals.

“It is clear that we are discussing this issue all the time,“ Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said at the EU meeting in Brussels.


►  Northern Ireland unity government crumbles, faces March vote

Northern Ireland’s shattered unity government will be dissolved next week to make way for an early election demanded by the coalition’s main Irish Catholic party, the secretary of state for the British territory announced Monday.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said the election to re-elect the Northern Ireland Assembly would be held March 2, six weeks after its dissolution.

Brokenshire’s declaration became inevitable once the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party refused hours earlier to fill its vacated top post in the nearly decade-old coalition with the major British Protestant party, the Democratic Unionists.

The warring parties face a potentially brutal election that could determine whether their unity government — centerpiece of Northern Ireland’s peace accord — can ever be put back together again.

Brokenshire appealed to both camps not to make their relationship even worse with bitter accusations on the campaign trail.

“While it is inevitable that debate during an election period will be intense, I would strongly encourage the political parties to conduct this election with a view to the future of Northern Ireland and re-establishing a partnership government,“ Brokenshire told reporters at Stormont Castle, the center of power-sharing in Belfast.

At stake is the resurrection of cross-community government, a goal sought by generations of peacemakers as the most logical way to end a conflict that has claimed 3,700 lives since the late 1960s.

Against the odds of history, a government led jointly by the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein took office in 2007 and, until recent months, had governed the long-disputed corner of the United Kingdom with surprisingly few blow-ups.

Sinn Fein says it forced the government’s collapse to protest the refusal of the Democratic Unionist leader, First Minister Arlene Foster, to step aside voluntarily.

As they left Stormont, Sinn Fein leaders accused the Democratic Unionists of poisoning their partnership by treating them abusively and refusing to be held accountable for the bungling of a “green energy” program overseen by Foster.

The program is expected to cost Northern Ireland, a land of barely 1.8 million citizens, 500 million pounds ($600 million) in ill-regulated and open-ended subsidies.

“There can be no return unless there’s fundamental change in how the DUP approach power-sharing,“ Sinn Fein lawmaker Conor Murphy said.

Foster, who was forced from office when Sinn Fein counterpart Martin McGuinness resigned a week ago, accused Sinn Fein of pursuing another election barely 10 months after the last one to advance its own political ambitions.

“They have forced an election that risks Northern Ireland’s future and its stability and suits nobody apart from themselves,“ said Foster, who became Northern Ireland’s first female leader 12 months ago.

Analysts agree that Sinn Fein hopes to overtake the Democratic Unionists and become Northern Ireland’s No. 1 party for the first time, gaining the symbolically potent right to hold the post Foster previously held.

Foster’s party won 38 of the assembly’s 108 seats in the May 2016 election, Sinn Fein 29.

Risk Analysis

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GSC Education Department Well Represented at WVRA

The 61st Annual West Virginia Reading Association Conference was held on November 18, 2016 at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The GSC Education Department had eight student representatives that participated and presented at the conference.

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(L-R) Jared Fitzwater, Justin Rader, Michaela Gumm, Holly Wilson, and Chelsea Hicks


Justin Rader, Jared Fitzwater, Chelsea Hicks, Michaela Gumm, and Holly Wilson all members of GSC’s Early Education Student Group (EESG). presented a workshop on ‘Utilizing Free and Inexpensive Materials to Enhance Reading Language Arts in the Early Education Classroom.’ Their presentation focused on developing activities for preschool and kindergarten classrooms that were created from free and very affordable materials. The activities that were presented by the group were also developmentally appropriate and hands-on for beginning readers.

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(L-R) Jonathan Reid, Kelsey Jett, Kimberly Smith, and Dr. Shara Curry


Three other students, Kelsey Jett, Jonathan Reid, and Kimberly Smith from Dr. Shara Curry’s Teaching Reading in Content Areas course presented a workshop entitled ‘All Teachers Are Teachers of Reading—How Do We Blur the Boundaries for All Content Areas?’ The group focused on how teachers in every content must find a way to make reluctant readers involved, and how middle and high school teachers must use student success and experiences to help them make connections and activate prior knowledge.

“The group truly enjoyed the opportunity to attend the reading conference and to network with other professionals in the education field, both in their workshops and at the conference in general. The entire education department commends these students for their dedication and commitment to education and were happy they were able to be a part of this experience,” said GSC Director of Teacher Education Field Placement Connie Stout O’Dell.

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Glenville State College attendees of the WVRA pause for a photo inside the Greenbrier


Fellow conference goers, classroom teachers, reading specialists, and administrators that attended the workshop presentations gave high praise to the GSC students for their teaching points and strategies that were used.

The West Virginia Reading Association is an affiliate of the International Literacy Association.

For more information about GSC student’s presentations at the WVRA Conference contact the GSC Teacher Education Department at 304.462.4119.

Deputy Phil Child Safety Program - Gilmer County

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Creative Safety Products is proud to present their 2016-2017 Deputy Phil Program to Gilmer County Elementary School, on Thursday, January 19th. The Deputy Phil Program’s topics this year are Respect, Bullying, and Stranger Awareness. With 41 years of experience and over one million students taught, we have learned that along with a little fun, like incorporating magic tricks and jokes into the educational lessons, comes a lot of learning! The students will enjoy a 30-minute safety assembly and get to meet Deputies from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Deputy Phil’s pal Lucky the Duck, who will join the performer to help teach the students some of the lessons.

Creative Safety Products is proud to present their 2016-2017 Deputy Phil Program to the Gilmer County Elementary Schools. The Deputy Phil Program’s topics this year are Respect, Bullying, and Stranger Awareness. With 41 years of expGilmernce and over one million students taught, we have learned that along with a little fun, like incorporating magic tricks and jokes into the educational lessons, comes a lot of learning!

The students will enjoy a 30-minute safety assembly and get to meet Deputies from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Deputy Phil’s pal Lucky the Duck, who will join the performer to help teach the students some of the lessons.

One of the primary objectives of the Deputy Phil Program is to help the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office establish a positive relationship with the youth in the County. It is very important for the children to know that the Deputies are friendly, approachable, and always available to help the children and their families, when in need. The program will begin with an introduction of the Gilmer County Sheriff or Deputies in attendance.

The first lesson of our program is Respect. Deputy Phil wants all the children in his “Safety Squad” to see his “bucket of respect”.  The bucket gets filled every day by showing respect to others and following safety rules.  The children will come up with ways that they are going to show respect for others. The bucket starts out empty, but when the children start “tossing” ideas into the bucket, bright foam stars magically appear in the bucket. The take away from this magic lesson is that if you want others to respect you than you need to show respect also.  The children are reminded to respect yourself, others, and the school rules, which in turn will help to fill your bucket of respect every day. 

The next lesson is Bullying. The performer will use three colored balls to talk about the different aspects of bullying. The Green ball will represent what does and does not constitute bullying.  The Yellow ball will represent caution.  The children are reminded to be careful when they are on the internet. Cyber Bullying can happen to anyone that is on the internet if they are not cautious. The Red ball reminds them of the word stop.  If someone is bullying them, they should ask the bully to stop, and tell an adult. The takeaway here is that we can stop bullying by being a buddy, being cautious and working together.

The final lesson is Stranger Awareness. The performer will use our Magic Drawing Board, which is a favorite of the children.  The face on the whiteboard comes to life with the help of our performer. When a child finds themselves in an unsafe situation, they are often asked to describe the person that caused the concern.  Through the use of the drawing board, our performer will ask for a description of a made-up stranger.  The children giggle when the “stranger” moves his eyes and talks to them.  This is a great illustration to get the message across to the children that the details are important in identifying a stranger. We once had children escape a potential abduction situation, and because of our show and our lesson on Stranger Awareness, they were able to describe to police in full detail, exactly what the suspect looked like. 

At the end of the assembly, the children will all receive a hands-on activity book to work on at home with their family, to reinforce the lessons taught at the program.  There are also online resources that will give teachers and parents some tools to review the safety messages. 

Creative Safety Products and the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all of the participating businesses in the community who made the program possible.

 

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ETC.

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  • Trump Vows Universal Insurance; Inauguration Boycott Grows:    “We’re going to have insurance for everybody.“ That’s what Donald Trump said of his yet-to-be-revealed Obamacare replacement plan, setting up a clash with congressional Republicans envisioning a scaled back federal role in health care. The president-elect also spent his Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend attacking civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis on Twitter for deciding to boycott Trump’s inauguration. At least 20 lawmakers are now following Lewis’ lead. White House reporters, meanwhile, are fretting over whether the incoming administration plans to evict them from the West Wing.    McClatchy


  • John Lewis Books Sell Out After Trump Criticism:    This is one tweet that backfired. After Rep. John Lewis questioned the president-elect’s legitimacy, Trump attacked on Twitter, calling Lewis “all talk ... no action.“ Now sales of the Georgia congressman’s autobiographical graphic novel series, March, have spiked by 106,000 percent, becoming Amazon’s top-seller. March tells the story of the civil rights movement and how Lewis helped lead the 1963 March on Washington. Meanwhile, Trump has canceled Martin Luther King Jr. Day plans to attend the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, citing “scheduling issues.“    Fortune


  • ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ to Fold Up Its Tent:  The show won’t go on. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will close up shop in May after 146 years. The traveling spectacle popularized by the legendary P.T. Barnum has suffered from declining interest, high costs and negative publicity after animal rights groups took issue with its use of elephants, lions and other performing animals. PETA took credit, saying its 36 years of protests reduced circus attendance “to the point of no return.“ Ringling Bros. will put on 30 more U.S. shows before its final curtain.  Quartz


  • Car Industry Rebuilds for Self-Driving Future:  They’re at a crossroads. Major auto manufacturers like Ford are rewriting more than a century’s worth of industry practices in preparation for the rise of autonomous cars. One major problem? For the first time, car companies are following the tech industry’s lead - and Silicon Valley operates much differently than Motor City. While companies scramble for the best partnerships, Google’s patented a system for finding optimal locations for autonomous cars to pick up and drop off passengers - which could put them in a drag race against Uber and Lyft.    The Verge

Gilmer County Board of Education Regular Meeting - 01.17.17 - Tonight

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AGENDA
REGULAR MEETING
Gilmer County Board of Education
Central Office
Tuesday, January 17, 2016 – 6:00 PM

I. CALL TO ORDER - Roll Call by President


II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE


III. DELEGATIONS


IV. CONSENT AGENDA - Board Action

        A. Minutes: December 19, 2016, January 5, 2017

        B. Student Transfers

        C. Field Trips

        D. Volunteers

        E. Treasurer’s Report


V. REPORTS/DISCUSSION/FOLLOW UP (INFORMATION)

        A. CGCC – December 20,2016 and January 06, 2017 - Dr. Carl Armour

        B. RESA 7 – December, 2016 - Norma Hurley


VI. PERSONNEL


VII. NEW BUSINESS

        A. Parchment Services

        B. Discussion/Action-Board Member Vacancies per WV Code 18-5-2


VIII. SUPERINTENDENT’S INFORMATION

        A. Gifted Student Presentation/Ms. Cherri West

        B. Field Trips

        C. Reports


The next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, February 20, 2017.


IX. ADJOURNMENT


01.17.2017
EducationNewsWest VirginiaRegionGilmer CountyGlenville(1) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

1980’s ~ WV had 500,000 students
1980’s ~ WVBOE had 130 employees

Today ~ WV has 250,000 students
Today ~ WVBOE has 1,300 employees

Wonder why your taxes are so high?
Wonder why there is a 400 million problem in WV?

Answer: Incompetent Legislators who spend more than our income.

By according to Gov. Justice  on  01.17.2017

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