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West Virginia Takes Bold Steps to Support Voter Registration and Improve Voter Rolls

Charleston, WV – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant announced today that West Virginia is the 17th member of a national record-matching consortium, the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

By participating in ERIC, County Clerks and the Secretary of State’s Office have a comprehensive tool to help improve voter registration and voter list maintenance across West Virginia. Through the sharing of data from participating states, the U.S. Postal Service, Social Security Administration and DMV, West Virginia will be notified of any registered voters who are deceased or who have moved, which will assist in making the voter rolls as accurate as possible.

The state will also be notified of citizens who are not registered, but may be eligible to vote. Participation in ERIC has been shown to save money by providing cleaner voter rolls, leading to less returned mail, accurate poll books and fewer provisional ballots.

“This is a perfect example of this Office’s use of forward-thinking initiatives that offer ways to save money and time for election administrators and voters alike,” said Secretary Tennant. “There are many tools that we are currently using in West Virginia to both facilitate accuracy in our voter rolls and increase registration, and ERIC is yet another tool that will help in our continual efforts to ensure our elections have integrity. Now that we are officially a member, we can get started on this important data comparison as soon as possible.”


West Virginia is the 17th voting member of ERIC. Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C. are already members.

“The ERIC Board of Directors and the ERIC staff welcome West Virginia to our consortium of states. Each state that joins ERIC shares a commitment to accurate voter rolls and outreach to new voters. ERIC states are leaders in government efficiency, interstate cooperation, and protecting the individual voter’s rights to cast a ballot,” said John Lindback, ERIC Executive Director.

ERIC matches data from member states (border states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia included) and looks for: voters who’ve moved in state, voters who’ve moved out of state, voters who’ve died, duplicate registrations and individuals who are potentially eligible to vote, but are not yet registered.

Participation in ERIC does not change the process for County Clerks. They are still responsible for verifying voter registration and maintaining their county’s voter rolls.

Secretary Tennant put forward legislation this year to allow for data transfers as part of ERIC to enable both voter registration and list maintenance efforts. The bill passed both Houses during the 2016 regular session with bipartisan support and was signed into law.

More information on ERIC can be found HERE  .

“Wings of Wonder - Birds of Prey” program featured at 14 West Virginia State Parks in 2016

The Free Press WV

SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV - The “Wings of Wonder - Birds of Prey” program series will be featured at 14 state parks in 2016. Ron and Wendy Perrone of Three Rivers Avian Center will present the birds and information about each species. The presentation includes information about the incredible abilities of raptors, their differences, and how birds are connected with their ecosystems.

“We feature the program every year, and every year it is wonderful,“ says Cheryle Boggs, seasonal naturalist at Watoga State Park. “Birds, and particularly raptors, are fascinating.“

Three Rivers Avian Center is scheduled to present “Wings of Wonder - Birds of Prey” at these West Virginia state parks and forests. Location and presentation times are posted on each park’s events website, or call the park for times.

Special summer programs and a variety of daily activities are conducted at West Virginia state parks and are open to the public at no charge. Times vary and should be confirmed with individual parks. For more information about special programs, click on Park Programs at www.wvstateparks.com.


Why outdoor education works

Three Rivers Avian Center started presenting programs in West Virginia State Parks in 1993. Its popularity and response has been outstanding. “People are genuinely interested in raptors, conservation of birds and visiting a state park and being outdoors,“ says Sissie Summers, programming coordinator for West Virginia State Parks.

“In June 2000, we presented a program at an area that is well known for its great fishing opportunities,“ Center Executive Director Wendy Perrone says.  “Part of the program focused on the effects on wildlife from abandoned tangles of fishing line left hanging in trees, brush and in the water. Some of the injuries seen here are from fishing line entanglements and many have been horrific. A few of the stories and some involving the death of birds were shared with the audience. At the end of the program, as we were talking with visitors and local residents,  a little girl broke away from the crowd and ran over to a nearby tree that was leaning out over the water. She returned, came up to me and triumphantly handed me a piece of tangled fishing line, complete with bobber that had been hanging in the tree. She announced that she and her friends would be collecting fishing line ‘from now on!‘ We still have that bobber in the TRAC van.“


About: Three Rivers Avian Center

Three Rivers Avian Center is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to wild bird conservation and to educating and involving people in ecosystem stewardship.  Founded in 1990, the 103 acre facility is located in the southern portion of the New River Gorge National River, between Sandstone and Hinton in Summers County, West Virginia. Executive Director Wendy Perrone is a graduate of Guilford College and currently serves as the New River Gorge Peregrine Restoration Coordinator, a five-year effort to reestablish peregrine falcon populations in their native southern Appalachian haunts. Education Director Ron Perrone is a graduate of West Virginia University. The Perrones are involved in many interpretative based organizations, wildlife rehabilitation organizations and assist conservation agencies as appropriate.

The public is invited to public tour days at Three Rivers Avian Center, held the first Saturday of each month May – October from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Other tours are scheduled by appointment only. The center is near Bluestone and Pipestem Resort state parks. For more information about Three Rivers Avian Center, call 304.466.4683 or visit www.tracwv.org.

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

CLINTON STAFF REVIEWED REMARKS, QUESTIONS FOR EVENTS

Emails obtained by The Associated Press reveal the kind of image-control apparatus that could be deployed in a Clinton White House.


CLINTON TO ATTACK TRUMP ON WORLD POLITICS

The Democratic presidential front-runner will unleash a major foreign policy attack on the presumptive GOP nominee, using a speech to cast the billionaire businessman as unqualified and dangerous.


UCLA TRIES TO MOVE ON AFTER DEADLY AND CHAOTIC DAY

Classes resume at the Los Angeles university following a murder-suicide that locked down the campus, while police try to determine what led to the shooting in a small office of an engineering building.


SYRIA REFUGEES KEPT BEHIND FENCES AMID SECURITY FEARS

But the new arrangement designed to speed up admissions at Jordan’s Azraq camp is barely making a dent, and crowds are expected to grow to 100,000 by the end of the year.


TRUMP UNIVERSITY MODEL: SELL HARD, DEMAND TO SEE A WARRANT

Once-confidential manuals for the real estate seminar company show the business encouraged high-pressure sales tactics and recognized it faced legal risks.


OBAMA TO ADDRESS AIR FORCE GRADS

The president is giving his final commencement speech to U.S. military members coming of age amid fresh global threats that seem to be pulling the U.S. back into conflicts with uncertain ends.


GUILT AND APOLOGY FIVE DECADES AFTER CHINA’S CULTURAL REVOLUTION

Dozens of people who committed violence in the name of ideological purity step forward to take responsibility and show contrition, yet saying sorry remains rare.


ZOO CASE IN LIMBO

No decision has been made yet on whether charges will be brought against the parents of a 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo.


HOW FEDS ARE DEALING WITH PAYDAY LENDERS

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing a clampdown on providers of high-interest loans, saying borrowers need to be protected from practices that wind up turning into “debt traps.“


WHAT’S IN STORE FOR BAY AREA THIS WEEKEND

Northern California will be the center of the sports universe when it plays host to both the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Final. BAY AREA GLORY

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►   Ground-to-air fireworks now available in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV — West Virginians will have access to a greater variety of fireworks under a law that debuts this week.

The law that went into effect Wednesday allows for the use of some aerial fireworks. Those can be sold by businesses licensed by the state fire marshal and include rockets and artillery shells. Customers must be 18 and have a valid state identification.

In the past, residents had to travel out-of-state to obtain such fireworks.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill into law earlier this year expanding the type of fireworks allowed.

Municipalities can regulate the use of consumer fireworks within their boundaries.


►   MANCHIN TO JOIN 2ND ANNUAL MOTORCYCLE RIDE FOR FALLEN SERVICE HEROES

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) will serve as the Special Guest Road Captain for the 2nd Annual Ride for Fallen Service Heroes on Sunday, June 12. This year’s ride benefits the West Virginia National Guard Foundation and the families of Fallen West Virginia Service Members.

“Like all West Virginians, I feel a special surge of emotion every time I see the American flag,” Senator Manchin said. “I am so eager to participate in this ride to honor Flag Day, the West Virginia National Guard and the families of Fallen Service Members. Every day, schoolchildren, Scouts, Veterans – in fact, Americans all across this great land – pledge their allegiance to the Stars and Stripes. This year, I am excited to honor our nation’s heroes with this special ride.”

The round-trip motorcycle ride will travel from Charleston to Summersville, and concludes with a free community picnic at the National Guard. A complete schedule is below:

Registration at the Harley-Davidson of WV Pavilion     8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Group Ride to Summersville                                   10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Break at Summersville Conference Center                       12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Group Ride to WV National Guard in Charleston               12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Community Picnic at WV National Guard                       2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The partners include U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Harley-Davidson of WV, Summersville Conference Center, WV National Guard, the WV Vietnam Veterans of America and the Capitol City WV Chapter #5439 Harley Owners Group. Officers from the Huntington Police Department Traffic Unit will participate and provide ride security. The public is encouraged to participate in the ride and/or attend the community picnic and honor our military heroes.

For more information about the 2nd Annual Ride for Fallen Service Heroes or how you can participate, please contact: Harley-Davidson of WV, 4924 MacCorkle Ave., South Charleston, WV 25309 or call 304.768.1600.


►   Chris Wood Named Davis & Elkins College President

Chris Wood has been named the 15th president of Davis & Elkins College.

The college’s Board of Trustees announced Wood’s selection Wednesday from among more than 60 candidates following a yearlong search.

The Huntington native’s appointment is effective August 01.

The 51-year-old Wood currently is vice president for advancement at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware.

Wood succeeds Buck Smith, who served six of the past eight years and will retire again as president emeritus.

In a statement, Wood says while he has not been actively seeking a college presidency, he found that Davis & Elkins’ liberal arts education offerings, faith-based roots and location in his home state were “enticing and captivating.“

Wood has a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a post-graduate degree from Northwestern University’s theological seminary.


►   Pool Openings Delayed Over West Virginia Budget Uncertainty

Officials have delayed opening six swimming pools managed by the Division of Natural Resources due to the uncertainty over the upcoming state budget.

Department of Commerce spokeswoman Chelsea Ruby says the openings have been pushed back for pools at Panther Wildlife Management Area, Twin Falls Resort State Park, Cabwaylingo State Forest, Babcock State Park, Watoga State Park and Kanawha State Forest.

Fourteen other pools operated by the state park system opened Saturday.

Ruby says the pools that didn’t open have higher operating costs.

State lawmakers have been working on a budget for the next fiscal year. Without a budget, state government would shut down July 01. A $270 million budget gap remains.


►   Trial Postponed for Coal Lab Worker in Water Testing Scheme

The trial has been postponed for an employee at a Raleigh County coal industry laboratory accused of falsifying water samples.

62-year-old John Brewer will be tried in federal court beginning August 08.

Brewer, a manager at Appalachian Laboratories Inc., is accused of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act, mail fraud and making false statements. He has pleaded not guilty.

Brewer’s trial had been scheduled for July 11, but his attorney John Wooten says more time was needed to prepare.

Brewer could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if convicted of all seven counts in a federal grand jury indictment.

Former lab employee John W. Shelton is currently serving one year and nine months in prison for tampering with water samples.


►   Clarksburg Police to Implement Bike Patrol to Reduce Crime

The Clarksburg Police Department will soon roll out a new bicycle patrol system that officials hope will cut down on crime in the city.

Clarksburg Police Chief Robbie Hilliard says he believes the system will be up and running by the beginning of June.

Hilliard says bike patrols have been proven to work effectively in reducing crime in the cities, adding that the patrols will also increase police presence in Clarksburg.

The routes will focus on the downtown area, as well as Glen Elk and several other neighborhoods in the community.

Hilliard says the bicycle police will be utilizing this system not only during regular shift hours, but during the city’s special events, including festivals, fairs and other public activities.


►   West Virginia Governor adds 2 items for lawmakers to consider

CHARLESTON, WV - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has added two items for West Virginia lawmakers to consider during the current special session.

Tomblin says in a news release that he wants the Legislature to look at a Department of Environmental Protection rules bill that didn’t pass during the regular session. It addresses new water standards for selenium limits.

Tomblin also included a supplemental bill to allow the Boone County Board of Education to continue to meet its payroll while addressing funding shortfalls caused by a drop in local property tax collections.

The governor says he’s also concerned about lawmakers’ lack of progress on the state budget. Tomblin called the Republican-led Legislature into session May 16. Without a budget, state government would shut down July 01. A $270 million budget gap remains.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►   Woman on UCLA shooter’s ‘kill list’ found dead in Minnesota

Police said Thursday that the gunman who killed his former professor at the University of California at Los Angeles before taking his own life had a “kill list” with other names, including a woman who was found dead in Minnesota.

The gunman — Mainek Sarkar, 38 — apparently had a grudge against the professor, which prompted him to drive from his home in Minnesota with two handguns and extra ammunition, said Charlie Beck, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Sarkar had graduated with a doctorate from UCLA engineering school’s in 2013, Beck said, and eventually moved to Minnesota.

When authorities went to Sarkar’s home there, they found “a note with names on it, indicating a ‘kill list,‘” Beck said in an interview Thursday morning on KTLA.

William Klug, 39, a professor in UCLA’s engineering department, was named on that list, Beck said. Another UCLA professor was also on the list, but that professor was not harmed, Beck said.

There was also the name of a woman in Minnesota, and when authorities went to her home in a town near Sarkar’s, they found her dead with a gunshot wound. Police have not released her name.

Sarkar and Klug were found dead in the professor’s office in the engineering building, Beck said.

A colleague on the faculty described Klug as sweet, gentle and good-hearted. Klug led the team that created a virtual heart, a supercomputer model realistic enough to test drugs and devices. Klug was doing research on developing drug strategies to treat a common and deadly type of heart disease and the mechanics of the heart.

In 1997, Klug graduated from Westmont College, a liberal arts school in Santa Barbara, Calif., with a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics. Westmont President Gayle D. Beebe said in a statement Thursday that Klug was remembered “as a gentle, kind person without a trace of arrogance.” Klug’s wife, Mary Elise, also went to Westmont, according to Beebe.

UCLA students planned a memorial Thursday evening for Klug, a husband and father who had spent several years volunteering with a local little league.

The Los Angeles campus, which has 43,000 students, was locked down on Wednesday morning after there were reports of gunshots at about 10 a.m. While hundreds of local and federal law enforcement officials rushed to the scene, students, professors and staff barricaded doors and hid, prepared for the possibility of violence after countless other shootings and threats of violence at the nation’s schools and colleges.

The campus was locked down for about two hours before it was declared safe. Some UCLA students were still in class this week as the semester is wrapping up, with the main commencement scheduled for June 10.

Because students were in rooms without locks during the lockdown, some had to barricade their doors.

At one point, “a SWAT team was running down the hallway, telling everyone to lock their doors,” said Christine Zhang, a student in a graduate engineering class. “But UCLA doors don’t really have a lock. So we had to kind of improvise.”

Scott Waugh, the executive vice chancellor and provost, said the university would review its active-shooter protocols in the wake of the shooting.

“We’ve heard all kinds of reports and we want to look at each one of them and make sure that the campus is as secure as possible, make sure that students and faculty and staff will be safe in the locations that they have, so yes, we will review everything very, very thoroughly,” Waugh said Wednesday.


►   Blind Man Sues McDonald’s Over Drive-Thru Policy

McDonald’s “no pedestrians at the drive-thru window” policy tramples on the rights of blind people who want late-night fast food, according to a Louisiana man’s lawsuit. The federal lawsuit filed by Scott Magee argues that since many McDonald’s outlets only have drive-thru windows open late at night, and blind people can’t drive, the chain is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by banning pedestrians, NBC News reports. Magee, who is seeking class-action status for the suit, says he was laughed at and turned away from a McDonald’s in a New Orleans suburb last year when he tried to order from the drive-thru while on foot. “This lack of accessibility to the blind is particularly offensive given the sophistication and size of McDonald’s Corporation,“ the lawsuit states.

Magee’s lawyer tells the Chicago Tribune that getting fast food late at night is “a quintessentially American activity that should not be denied to someone because of their disability.“ McDonald’s that have drive-thrus open only at night should install outside phones to allow disabled customers to place orders and have their food brought to them, he suggests. The Tribune notes that Magee’s brother Emmett, who is also blind, was represented by the same lawyer when he sued Coca-Cola last year because he was unable to use one of the company’s vending machines. The case was thrown out, but he’s appealing.


►   Kid’s Parents Could Be Charged in Gorilla Death

Harambe the gorilla is becoming the most talked-about animal since Cecil the lion—and his death is just as controversial. On Tuesday, police and prosecutors confirmed that the shooting at the Cincinnati Zoo is being investigated, and they haven’t ruled out criminal charges against the parents of the boy who fell into the gorilla exhibit on Saturday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Police now say the boy is 3 years old, not 4 as earlier reported. The US Department of Agriculture is also investigating the incident. A roundup of coverage:

  • Jane Goodall wrote to the zoo’s director to express her sympathies, Time reports. “It looked as though the gorilla was putting an arm round the child,“ the world-renowned expert wrote in an email made public by her foundation.
  • In a Facebook post, former gorilla handler Amanda O’Donoughue explains why she believes the zoo did the right thing, and why she thinks the gorilla was not trying to protect the boy, as it appears to Goodall.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer speaks to Jerry Stones at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, who looked after Harambe for the first 15 years of his life. The “fun-loving and intelligent” gorilla “was like one of my sons,“ Stones says. “He was beautiful and a true character—so mischievous and not aggressive.“ He says that since he wasn’t there, he isn’t going to comment on the controversy, but he has set up the Harambe Fund to help Harambe’s critically endangered species.
  • The Stop Animal Exploitation Now animal rights group requested a USDA investigation, reports CNN. The group cited previous USDA reports from the zoo, including a report from March this year detailing the escape of two polar bears into a service hallway.
  • The New York Times reports that Donald Trump spoke about the killing on Tuesday, saying it was a “very tough call” for the zoo. They probably had no choice, he said, but “it was amazing because there were moments with the gorilla, the way he held that child, it was almost like a mother holding a baby.“
  • In an opinion piece at the Guardian, Ijeoma Oluo says there should be no “parent-shaming” over the zoo incident, because it could happen to any mother. Small children “have an innate sense of curiosity matched with the inability to comprehend danger,“ she writes. “Add to that small size, surprisingly quick movement, and a creativity forgotten in adulthood, and you have a recipe for never-ending possible disaster.“


►   Feds Go After San Bernardino Shooter’s Life Insurance

Federal prosecutors have filed a lawsuit to seize payments on life insurance policies taken out by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook in the years before the December attacks. The US attorney’s office in Los Angeles filed the civil asset forfeiture lawsuit Tuesday for two policies worth a total of $275,000, the AP reports. Farook took out the two policies, one worth $25,000 in 2012, and the other worth $250,000 in 2013, prosecutors say. His mother was named as beneficiary of both policies. Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, died with him in a shootout with authorities after the December 2 attack during which they shot and killed 14 people.

The US attorney’s office says that under federal law, assets derived from terrorism against the United States are subject to forfeiture. The lawsuit seeks to seize both the proceeds and the policies themselves. “Terrorists must not be permitted to provide for their designated beneficiaries through their crimes,“ US Attorney Eileen M. Decker says. “My office intends to explore every legal option available to us to ensure these funds are made available to the victims of this horrific crime. We will continue to use every tool available to seek justice on behalf of the victims.“


►   Man Pays Speeding Ticket With Many, Many Pennies

“I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t endanger anybody’s life.“ That’s what Texas man Brett Sanders tells NBC-DFW to explain his indignation over a $220-plus speeding ticket he recently received while driving near his Frisco home. Sanders was fined for driving 9 miles over the limit, and because cops made such a big deal about his transgression, he decided to make a big deal about paying for it. “I just decided I may as well pay with pennies and … make a big spectacle of it,“ he says. In a caption for the YouTube video he posted about the incident, entitled, “How to pay a speeding ticket” (it’s already racked up more than 1 million views), Sanders notes he was convicted for going 39mph in a 30mph zone, that he’s “not a big fan of extortion,“ and that he had to pay the $212 (plus a processing fee) facing “the barrel of a gun” (which we’re assuming is metaphorical).

The video shows Sanders unrolling the approximately 22,000 one-cent pieces he retrieved from a local bank and dumping them into two large buckets labeled “Extortion Money,“ per Today.com. He lugged the buckets to the city’s municipal court, where he proceeded to unload his coinage onto a clerk’s counter. The New York Daily News says it took the clerks three hours to count and roll the pennies back up. “It felt really great,“ Sanders says, per NBC. The kicker to his stunt, which technically isn’t illegal, is that he overpaid: The city now owes him a grand total of $7.81, though he says he’s cool with them holding onto the change. “I’m just going to go ahead and let them keep that,“ he notes.


►   General Mills Recalls 10M Pounds of Flour Over E. Coli Fears

General Mills is voluntarily recalling 10 million pounds of flour after 38 people across 20 states contracted E. coli, Food Safety News reports. The E. coli cases were reported between December 21, 2015 and May 3, 2016. The recall includes Gold Medal, Signature Kitchens, and Gold Medal Wondra flour sold at Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Shaws, Jewel, United, Randalls, and Acme. According to Reuters, about half of those diagnosed with E. coli reported cooking with flour before becoming sickened. About half of those people said they’d used a General Mills brand of flour. It’s possible some of those diagnosed with E. coli had eaten raw batter or dough, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

General Mills says it’s recalling the flour “out of an abundance of caution.“ No E. coli has been found in any of its products or facilities. And the company hasn’t had any consumers contact it directly about its products making them ill. “We felt it was important to not only recall the product and replace it for consumers if there was any doubt, but also to take this opportunity to remind our consumers how to safely handle flour,” the Star Tribune quotes the president of General Mills’ baking division as saying in a statement. Specifics of the recall can be found HERE .


►   After Girl’s Suicide Attempt, Teacher Pens 130 ‘Incredible’ Notes

When finals wrapped up at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs last week, Brittni Darras handed each of her students a handwritten letter. They contained messages like, “I hope you know how special you are to me” and “You inspire me to be a better person.“ It was a sweet gesture inspired by a tragic event. Two months ago, a parent explained to Darras why her daughter had been absent from class for weeks. “Her daughter—a friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman—not only planned to commit suicide, but was in the act of doing so when the police ... broke in, and stopped her. She had deleted her social media accounts and left goodbye letters; she was ready to leave the world,“ Darras writes in a Facebook post, per the Telegraph. “Feeling helpless, I asked if I could write my student a letter to be delivered to her at the hospital.“

When the letter had been delivered, the girl’s mom told Darras that her daughter had been surprised by the kind things her teacher wrote about her, believing no one would miss her if she died. “It just made me realize that something needs to be done to make these kids realize that they’re special,“ Darras tells KOAA. She spent the next two months writing a note to each of her 130 students. “I was just first of all surprised by how much she wrote,“ says a student whom Darras described as “the student I brag about to all of my friends.“ “Usually when people write letters, it’s like one or two sentences ... It was just incredible.“ Darras’ Facebook post has now been shared more than 173,000 times, with commenters offering Darras their own words of praise.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►   Guy in Wingsuit Hits Target on Great Wall While Going 120mph

Jeb Corliss proved Sunday that his nickname, “Human Arrow,“ is quite accurate. The 40-year-old daredevil jumped from a helicopter 6,000 feet in the air while wearing a wingsuit, then flew through the air at 120mph toward an apple-sized target on the Great Wall of China—a target he managed to hit in a feat caught on video by NBC News. Corliss’ last stunt involved flying through a 25-foot-wide crevice between two cliff faces.


►   Chad’s Ex-Dictator Convicted of Crimes Against Humanity

Chad’s former dictator Hissene Habre was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, and sex crimes during his time in power, Judge Gberdao Gustave Kam said Monday, ending the trial that began in July 2015. Whoops of joy and tears greeted the judge’s ruling from scores of Habre’s prisoners and their supporters who hugged each other in the courtroom, the AP reports. On the other hand, Habre’s supporters cheered him as he walked calmly out of court surrounded by heavy security. He extended his hands to his supporters and then pumped his fist in the air as they shouted and clapped for him.

Habre was convicted of being responsible for thousands of deaths and torture in prisons during his rule from 1982 to 1990. A 1992 Chadian Truth Commission accused Habre’s government of systematic torture, saying that 40,000 people died during his rule. It placed particular blame on his political police force. Habre’s trial was by the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese courts that was formed by Senegal and the African Union. It is the first trial in which the courts of one country prosecuted the former ruler of another for alleged human rights crimes. More than 90 witnesses testified. Habre’s lawyer Mounir Ballal said he will appeal the verdict. He has 15 days.


►   137 Tigers Evicted From Buddhist Temple

Wildlife officials in Thailand have begun removing some of the 137 tigers held at a Buddhist temple following accusations that the monks were involved in illegal breeding and trafficking of the animals. The director of Thailand’s Wildlife Conservation Office, Teunjai Noochdumrong, says three tigers were tranquilized and transported Monday in an operation involving about 1,000 state personnel that is expected to continue for a week. The animals will be taken to three government animal refuges elsewhere in Thailand. The temple, a popular money-earning tourist attraction in the western province of Kanchanaburi, has been criticized by animal rights activists because of allegations it is not properly set up to care for the animals and flouted regulations, the AP reports.

The monks resisted previous efforts to take away the tigers, and impeded the effort again on Monday morning despite the massive show of force by the authorities. It was “mayhem,“ Noochdumrong tells CNN. “When our vet team arrived, there were tigers roaming around everywhere,“ he says. “Looks like the temple intentionally let these tigers out, trying to obstruct our work.“ The monks relented after police obtained a court order. More than 300 officials remained at the temple overnight to ensure the tigers remained safe.


►   South Says N. Korea Missile Launch Fails—Again

A North Korean missile launch likely failed on Tuesday, according to South Korea’s military, the latest in a string of high-profile failures that somewhat tempers recent worries that Pyongyang was pushing quickly toward its goal of a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach America’s mainland. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports that the missile was a powerful midrange Musudan, per the AP. If true, that would make it the fourth failed attempt by the North to conduct a test launch of the new missile, which could potentially reach faraway US military bases in Asia and the Pacific. Yonhap, citing an unidentified government source, says the missile exploded at a mobile launch pad as soon as the launch button was pressed. The report, if confirmed, suggests the missile may have even failed to lift off.

Seoul defense officials said they could not immediately confirm the report. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the North attempted to launch an unidentified missile early in the morning from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan, but that it likely failed. JCS officials said later Tuesday they were analyzing what happened but released no other details. Despite recent failures, there have been growing worries about North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities this year, which included a nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February that outsiders saw as a test of banned long-range missile technology. The most recent launch follows Seoul’s rejection of recent Pyongyang overtures to talk, part of what some analysts see as an attempt by the North to win concessions from its rivals.


►   Drowned Baby a Crushing Symbol of Migrant Crisis

The figure bobbing in the water looked “like a doll, arms outstretched.“ But what German humanitarian organization Sea-Watch pulled from the Mediterranean Sea on Friday was not a doll. “I took hold of the forearm of the baby and pulled the light body protectively into my arms at once,“ says a rescuer, who’s seen cradling the baby in a photo that’s quickly becoming a symbol of Europe’s devastating migrant crisis. “It held out its arms with tiny fingers into the air, the sun shone into its bright, friendly but motionless eyes.“ The child—it isn’t clear if it was a boy or a girl—was likely less than a year old and was on a boat traveling from Libya to Italy when it capsized, reports Reuters. There were 135 survivors, but at least 44 others died, including two other infants, reports the Sun.

“I began to sing to comfort myself and to give some kind of expression to this incomprehensible, heart-rending moment,“ the rescuer, a father of three, adds. The body—photographed by a media company aboard the rescue boat—was then turned over to the Italian navy, along with 25 others Sea-Watch recovered. “It’s always a difficult decision to publish such a picture, but … we thought that this material needs to be published because what we see here is the effect of European foreign policy,“ a Sea-Watch rep tells Reuters, per CBS News. “The calls by EU politicians to avoid further death at sea sum up to nothing more than lip service,“ the group adds. “If we do not want to see such pictures we have to stop producing them.“


►   Rio Gang-Rape Victim: ‘Nobody Deserves This’

“I fell asleep and woke up in a completely different place, with a man under me, one on top of me and two holding me down,“ the Rio de Janeiro teenager who was allegedly gang-raped by more than 30 men says in an interview, per CNN. “I was drugged, I was very groggy, there were lots of people with guns, lots of young guys laughing and talking,“ she adds, per Al Jazeera. Brazilian police say the assault occurred but a rape kit—meant to be completed within 72 hours—was only done after five days and didn’t give conclusive evidence, reports CBS News. “Traces were lost because of time,“ the police chief says. But if a video showing men surrounding the woman’s unconscious body “is true, and it looks to be true, there is no doubt it was rape.“

So far only two men have been arrested. Police are searching for four others, though the victim says 33 men and boys were involved. “I am waiting for the justice of God,“ she says. “If I have to wait for the justice system, they’ve already shown that nothing is going to happen.“ She adds that the lead investigator—who has since been replaced—asked her if she often had group sex. Others say she should’ve expected the assault because she was in a favela controlled by a drug gang. “They tried to incriminate me, as if it was my fault I was raped,“ she says, per the Washington Post. “It not only hurt me, it hurt my soul,“ she adds. “Nobody deserves this. It doesn’t matter if I was wearing short clothes or longer clothes, it doesn’t matter where I was.“


►   Dozens Report Sexual Assaults at German Festival

Some 26 women have filed sexual assault complaints following a music festival in Darmstadt, Germany—and another 15 are expected to come forward. The 26 victims reported being “surrounded” by men who “touched and fondled” them at the Schlossgrabenfestes festival on Saturday, reports the Evening Standard. Another 15 were reportedly assaulted on Sunday. So far three Pakistani men seeking asylum in Germany have been arrested and are accused of assaulting two or three women, reports CNN.

Gilmer County Schools May/Summer 2016 Newsletter: Gilmer County High School

GCHS PROM!
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GCHS “A Sky Full of Stars” Prom was held on May 07 at the Morris Criminal Justice Center.

Selected by their peers, Junior Princess Tiffany Copeland, Junior Prince Lukas Sirbaugh, Queen Kassie Hickman, and King Ethan Burkhammer reigned as Prom Royalty for the evening.

A special thank you to the junior class head sponsor Tabby Beall, and sponsors Joe Brannon, Willard Wright and Brianna Blankenship for overseeing the event.


 

Market Day
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Mrs. Karen McClain, Grade 7 social studies teacher, explains how Market Day works in her classroom.

Gene Coulson, Ed.D. Executive Director, EntreEd, Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, met with school, community, and business leaders to discuss entrepreneurship at Gilmer County High School.


 

“Earth’s Quilt: Common Threads, A Journey Across the Curriculum”
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The WV Dance Company performed “Earth’s Quilt: Common Threads, A Journey Across the Curriculum” to GCHS students on April 20. 

The performance was funded through the Arts Exposure Grant and through Extended Curriculum at GCHS . 


 

2016 GCHS baseball team
The Free Press WV

The 2016 GCHS baseball team is having very productive post-season play.

The baseball team won the sectional title by defeating Wirt County, and defeated Williamstown in the semi-final round of regional play.

The baseball team traveled to Wahama to play in the finals of regional action on Wednesday, May 25 at 6 p.m.


 

2016 GCHS softball team
The Free Press WV

The 2016 GCHS softball team completed the season 11-15 with a sectional title.

Seniors accepted the sectional plaque on behalf of the team, (l to r): Ayla Young, Emilie Jedamski, and Hannah Moore.

Moore has elected to play softball at the collegiate level next year at Glenville State College.

 

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GCHS STATE TRACK MEET
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Girls Events
4 x 200 Relay
    8th Gilmer County HS   1:56.41   1
    1) Huff, MacKenzee          
    2) Shuff, Kylie          
    3) Petty, Analysse          
    4) Wildman, Halee          
4 x 400 Relay
  9th Gilmer County HS  
4:35.51                        
    1) White, Ashlee          
    2) Shuff, Kylie          
    3) Petty, Analysse          
    4) Chapman, Lindsay  
       
High Jump
7th Petty, Analysse       4ft. 10 in.

Shot Put
4th Wright, Sada         32ft. 3 in.

Discus
3rd Wright, Sada         111 ft.  7in

Boys Events
800 Meter Run
5th White, Caleb     2:04.24

4 x 100 Meter Relay
13th Gilmer County HS       48.25  
    1) Haley, Gunar            
    2) Steele, Chase          
    3) Watkins, Kevin          
    4) Pritt, Jared

4 x 200 Meter Relay
7th Gilmer County HS       1:37.73  
    1) Pritt, Jared            
    2) White, Caleb          
    3) Haley, Gunar            
    4) Watkins, Kevin          

4 x 400 Meter Relay
10th Gilmer County HS     3:48.00   1
    1) Pritt, Jared 11          
    2) White, Caleb 11          
    3) Steele, Chase 9
    4) Skinner, Caleb 10

Shot Put
1st Stout, Nathan     59 ft. 8.25 in.
(State Meet Record—Pictured Left)

Discus
1st Stout, Nathan       167-00
(State Meet Record Pictured Left)

High Point -
5th Nathan Stout—20 points


 

GCHS Student Recognition
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The recipients of the Damon West Award for Excellence in Athletics are seniors Mackenzee Huff and Nathan Stout.

Mackenzee is a three year letterman in volleyball, four year letterman in basketball,  four-year letterman in track and one year in cross country.

She was 2nd team all LKC in basketball, the recipient of the LKC Scholar Athlete award and has qualified for the State Track meet three years.

Mackenzee received the Army Scholar Athlete Award at the Senior Assembly.

She is the daughter of Mrs. Marsha Tompkins and Mr. Phil Huff.

Nathan is a four year time All LKC performance in track, three time All State in track, as well as being named two-time All-American.

He is a three-time state champion in the shot put and set the State Record; he holds the state championship in discuss and set a new state record of throwing 167 feet on May 20, 2016.

Nathan is the son of Mrs. Connie O’Dell and Mr. James Stout.


 

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Youth Ambassador Leadership Summit  

Alyssa Langford

Harvard University - June 2016


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Representing GCHS at Governor’s Honors Academy: Janeeva Jenkins


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Girls State representatives from GCHS:

Madisyn Furr

Carly Somerville

Lydia Cottrill


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Representing GCHS at Boys State:

Lukas Sirbaugh

Caleb White

Lucas Tanner

Trey Shuff

Cole Haley

 

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GCHS BAND CONCERT
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GCHS music department held the Spring Music Concert on May 12, 2016.

The choir performed several songs.

The GCHS Brass Quintet Plus One was introduced; they play two pieces written specifically for brass ensembles.

The concert band performed several numbers, including the program for WVSSAC ratings where the band received a grade of 2.

Ms. Blankenship explained that the STEM to STEAM grant provided funds for a new tuba, a gong and cymbal.

 

... To Be Continued ...

DHHR Warns Residents of Possible Mold Exposure During Clean Up

The Free Press WV

​The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Heath is encouraging residents in areas impacted by flooding to be aware of the effects of exposure to mold during the clean up process.

“After flooding, water can cause the growth of mold in homes and buildings,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health.  “When entering a home that has been flooded, be aware that mold may be present and can pose a health risk for you and your family. If you have a chronic lung condition like asthma or a weakened immune system, you could develop mold infections in your lungs, and you should try to avoid buildings contaminated with mold.”

Signs of indoor mold growth include staining on surfaces, a musty odor, dark spots on or around vents, water stains and peeling or curling of vinyl floors or wallpaper.

Common reactions to mold are cough, congestion, runny nose, burning eyes, headaches, sneezing and sore throat. Children, pregnant women, older people and people with weakened immune systems may be more sensitive to mold than others.

“If you plan to be inside the building for a while or you plan to clean up mold, you should take appropriate preventive measures to protect your health while in the building,” said Gupta.  “If you or your family members have health problems after exposure to mold, contact your doctor or other health care provider.”

Residents should be aware that due to the contaminated flood waters, professional help may be needed to rid the home of mold.  Professional help is also needed if the home’s heating/venting/air conditioning system has been flooded, to remove any debris or mold growing inside of it. 

More information on cleaning up safely after a disaster is available HERE.

CommunityConcerns™: Gilmer County’s Ambiguous School Budget….

Gilmer County’s Ambiguous School Budget Enables Financial Mismanagement,
Cover-up, And Lack Of Accountability

The Free Press WV

The State’s failure to allow the Energy Express’ summer reading and nutrition program for Gilmer County’s disadvantaged children demonstrates the worst of broken government. How much more evidence is needed to prove that WVBOE and WVDOE officials do not care about the welfare of our at risk children?

It is said insultingly that Gilmer County’s citizens are too under educated to understand what is best for our school system and the State must save us from ourselves.  The brutal truth is that the State has another motive for the way it does business. It is to hide information so it can claim perfection with everything done with intervention.

For years we have watched ignored pleas on video tapes from school board members who want various kinds of information. If the State is not engaged in cover up why does it withhold information? In normal setting questions are welcomed to indicate that board members are interested in budgeting outcomes. Also, in situations where accuracy and thoroughness are necessary, competent administrators welcome questions. The reason is that they strive to avoid possibilities that important details were omitted or there were opportunities for enhanced accuracy.  The State’s imperious stance is that it knows best and questions undermine its authority. The WVBOE established a standard and strictly enforced no questions allowed policy in intervened counties to be painfully evident in Gilmer County.

The State’s Energy Express debacle is a perfect example of necessity for full disclosure and transparency with budgets.  If the County’s school system budget had been presented in an accurate line item format it would have been possible for the serious problem to have been detected early to enable the Energy Express’ program to be presented this year.

Budgeting is ultra-simple to understand. There are three basic accounting categories. The first one is for fixed costs associated with salaries and benefits, repayment of debt, utilities, and other known obligatory expenses. The second category is for planned expenditures including maintenance of facilities and other capital outlays. The third category is for unknown contingencies. They cannot be predicted in advance, but citizens know that the unexpected always occurs to make adequate financial preparation necessary.

Secrecy with financial management must stop. Improved budgeting practices are necessary for three reasons. First, a new approach would require more rigorous advance planning with establishment of defensible priorities for maximizing benefits for our children. Second, citizens would have more confidence that spending is not being done whimsically and wastefully, and a higher level of accounting detail would garner more public support to include extension of the excess levy for our schools. Third, a reliable budget with verifiable outcomes would institute accountability to help end suspicion and distrust resulting from five long years of intervention.

The public understands why some individuals on the County’s school board could be prone to approve past fiscal year budgets brimming with ambiguity. It is because in our County there can be business deals, employment security, and other perks including good grades and college scholarship money to be jeopardized from casting nay votes.

Also, the belief can exist that if rubber stamping does not occur for everything the State wants there is risk that full control of our school system will not be restored anytime soon.  That fear is understandable after authority for finances were removed from the school board the second time by the WVBOE. It happened as punishment after questions were asked about moving school board offices to the vacated Minnie Hamilton building.

When something goes wrong in intervened counties, the WVBOE relishes being in a position to never admit to fault and to respond that “the County’s school board approved it”. That will happen should financial problems arise without in-depth scrutiny and input from the County’s school board.

The Pharma-Driven Opioid Epidemic May Be As Big A Con As The Mortgage Housing Bubble Collapse

The Free Press WV

The prescription opioid epidemic is not new. It began when Pharma rolled out and aggressively marketed time-released opioids like Oxycontin, driving “pill mills” that distributed as many as 9 million Oxys in a six-month span. What is new is the media finally calling Pharma out on the many cagey ways it got people hooked on opioids and heroin (and continues to do so), how the FDA unabashedly helps Pharma with shocking new approvals, and how people in real pain, especially the poor and African Americans, are some of the hidden victims of the epidemic. When all the reports are in, the Pharma-driven opioid epidemic may be one of the biggest and deadliest cons in recent history.


Your Patients Won’t Get Addicted, We Promise!

When Purdue Pharma and other Pharma companies began to aggressively market opioids for even minor pain, promising practitioners they were not addictive, it had been decades since the need to tightly control narcotics had been the mandate. Many newly graduating doctors, young medical professionals and their patients did not remember the opiate addictions of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s and the many U.S. troops who got hooked on heroin in Vietnam. (Certainly no one remembered the notorious opium dens of early America.) Why should these drugs be so highly restricted, said Pharma, banking on the U.S.’ short memory. Why should they be restricted to short-term surgical pain, accidents and treatment of cancer and terminal pain conditions?

The misinformation was abetted by a perverse pro-opioid movement of users who claim the real problem is the media’s “misunderstanding” of opioids and overly tight controls on the pills. (After all, you are never addicted until your source is cut off.)  Such vocal defenders are not a coincidence. They are the result of Pharma’s deliberate, multimillion-dollar campaigns to cast chronic pain and other nonmalignant pain conditions as requiring opioids and Pharma’s thriving parallel addiction business. Twenty years ago, none of the pain conditions now presented as requiring opioids would have been presented that way. Nor were between 40 and 52 people a day dying from opioids.

The picture is worsened by the fact that there are no studies showing that prescribing long-term opioids for chronic pain is effective but there is evidence it makes pain worse.

Between 1996 and 2002, Purdue Pharma “funded more than 20,000 pain-related educational programs through direct sponsorship or financial grants and launched a multifaceted campaign to encourage long-term use of [opioid painkillers] for chronic non-cancer pain,“ reports Vox Media. Included in the monetary persuasion was financial support to the American Pain Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the Joint Commission, pain patient groups, and other organizations, writes Vox, which in turn “advocated for more aggressive identification and treatment of pain, especially use of [opioid painkillers].

The American Geriatrics Society also drove the opioid epidemic. In 2009, it changed its guidelines to recommend opioids for “all patients with moderate to severe pain,“ before over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Half the panel’s experts “had financial ties to opioid companies, as paid speakers, consultants or advisers at the time the guidelines were issued,“ investigative reporter John Fauber reports. The University of Wisconsin’s Pain & Policy Studies Group also took $2.5 million from opioid makers even as it pushed for looser use of narcotic painkillers, he reports.

A pain guide supported by the American Geriatrics Society and funded by Janssen (which makes Duragesic, Ultram ER and Nucynta) claims that opioids “allow people with chronic pain to get back to work, run, and play sports,“ and describes worries that patients may need increased doses of opioids over time as a “myth.”

The guide omits opioid risks but cites “disadvantages” for ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). While over-the-counter pain meds certainly can cause stomach bleeding, opioids cause hormonal changes, constipation, a decrease in immune responses, fracture risks, liver and kidney risks, cardiopulmonary, pulmonary and congestive heart problems, sleep apnea, mental problems and even death in those who combine them with other drugs. Which would you take?

Another lobbying example is the drug company-funded group IMMPACT, whose stated goal is “improving the design, execution, and interpretation of clinical trials of treatments for pain.” One of the improved designs it recommends is “enriched enrollment”—elimination of non-responders and subjects who don’t tolerate a drug before the clinical trial begins. Both Purdue and Janssen have acknowledged how useful the lobbying group has been to them. Of course “improving” clinical trial procedures lowers drug company trial costs and heightens the chance a drug candidate is approved.


Why OxyContin Hooks and Kills

Some pills are more addictive than others, and the difference often boils down to half-life—how long the drug remains in your system. When a drug with euphoric and psychological effects (like opioids or benzodiazepines) leaves the body rapidly, there are often withdrawal effects. The classic example of withdrawal of a short-acting substance is the alcohol hangover. Alcohol leaves the body so quickly there can be tremors, shakes, anxiety, and in alcoholics, seizures. (That is why alcohol withdrawal is treated with long-acting drugs that exert some of the same effects on the body as alcohol but leave more slowly.) Xanax is considered the most addictive of the benzodiazepines because it has the shortest half-life—after only about six hours the drug leaves the body and the person craves more.

In a recent expose by the Los Angeles Times that looked at thousands of Purdue emails, memos, meeting minutes, sales reports, FDA records, patent records and journal articles over many years, Oxycontin’s notorious addiction numbers stem from this same phenomenon. Purdue Pharma deliberately marketed Oxycontin as a 12-hour med—providing pain relief for 12 hours, the company said, and only requiring a twice-a-day dose. Records now show that Purdue knew the claim was a lie, as did its sales reps, patients, medical professional and even regulatory authorities. At best, Oxy only provided eight hours of pain relief exposing patients to returning pain, withdrawal symptoms and dangerously inadequate care.

Purdue sales reps also gave prescribers Oxycontin fishing hats, stuffed plush toys and music compact discs (“Get in the Swing With Oxycontin”) in shameless promotions that were “unprecedented for a schedule II opioid,“ says a paper in the American Journal of Public Health.

Why wouldn’t Purdue just admit the misrepresentation instead of exposing patients to pain, withdrawal symptoms, addiction and the danger of escalating dosages? In a letter to the FDA, Purdue lawyers said the reason they maintained the fiction was “Purdue hadn’t submitted studies to the FDA to support more frequent dosing, the FDA had approved Oxycontin as a 12-hour drug, and 12-hour dosing was more convenient for patients,” says the Times. A higher dose rather than a more frequent dose also made more money for the company even though higher doses are more likely to cause death.

Who is Purdue? According to the LA Times, the Sacklers, “a New York family of physicians and philanthropists” whose name “adorns a wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and several galleries in the British Museum” bought Purdue in 1952. The Sacklers main source of revenue until the 1980s was a morphine pill for cancer called MS Contin. Oxycontin was concocted to ensure revenues when MS Contin’s patent ran out—also widening the market to non-cancer uses. “We do not want to niche Oxycontin just for cancer pain,” Purdue meeting minutes say. Purdue has reaped at least $31 billion from the marketing maneuver, says the Times.


FDA Has Helped Pharma Sell Opioids

While on the surface, the FDA appears to be addressing the opioid addiction epidemic, it actually enabled it and continues to do so. As the full impact of the opioid addiction epidemic became apparent, the FDA responded by removing the “moderate pain” indication on opioid labels, trying to restrict their use to severe pain.

While time-release opioids were created to discourage addict behavior in patients which could erupt every time the effect of short-acting opioids wore off (and to protect patients from possible liver damage from Tylenol and other drugs added to short-acting opioids), drug users and drug abusers soon found they could crush and snort long-acting opioids and even shoot them like heroin.

As the opioid addiction epidemic grew, Pharma complied with FDA directives to create abuse-proof versions of Oxycontin and other long-acting drugs while continuing to wave through opioids that were still “abusable.“ On the same day in 2013 that the FDA announced its new Vicodin restrictions, it approved the long-acting drug Zohydro made from hydrocodone bitartrate which has five to 10 times the abuse potential of Oxy.

The FDA did so over the warnings of many medical and public health groups and its own advisory committee.

In 2014, the FDA approved Tarrginiq ER while admitting it could still cause overdoses and euphoria. In 2015 the FDA approved opioids for children as young as 11. Opioids like fentanyl, Actiq and Zydone, a long-acting hydrocodone, are not abuse-deterrent and public health officials and pain experts are baffled by the FDA’s apparent tin ear to the national opioid problem. In March, the FDA “encouraged” opioid makers to develop abuse-deterrent versions of their drugs.

In an even more amazing move that promotes rather than restricts opiods, in April Congress passed and President Obama signed a law that actually curtails Drug Enforcement Administration powers to pursue pharmacies and drug wholesalers thought to be fanning the opioid epidemic.

“I’m shocked that Congress and the president would constrain DEA from taking on corporate drug dealers in the midst of the worst addiction epidemic in U.S. history,” said Andrew Kolodny, the director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and an addiction specialist. “This law allows opioid distributors to reap enormous profits and operate with impunity at the public’s expense.”

Why would the government consign more users to abuse, addiction and possible death? Congress is taking the considerations of “deep-pocketed chain pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens and drug distribution companies like Cardinal Health and McKesson” into account, says the New York Times.


Victims Include Those in Pain

The toll of Pharma’s wide marketing of opioids and the breadth of FDA approvals is not just on those who have become addicted (and have even become addicted to the treatment drugs like Suboxone). People in acute pain are often thought to be abusers and are denied opioids, especially when they are poor or minorities.

“People who are poor, African American or both are less likely to be prescribed opioids for pain than well-off white patients,“ reported Reuter. In one study, “46 percent of white patients with moderate or severe pain were given opioids, compared to 39 percent of black patients. And 45 percent of non-Hispanic people received the drugs, versus 40 percent of Hispanics.“

Even black children with acute appendicitis, a painful emergency, are less likely to be prescribed painkillers in the emergency room than white children, researchers reported on NBC news. And while the Western world struggles with too many opioids and addictions, people in terrible pain in poor countries often go without opioids altogether.

~~  Martha Rosenberg - An investigative health reporter and the author of “Born With a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health ~~

Report: U.S. Should Use Fewer Antibiotics in Agriculture

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON, WV – A new report calls for banning or restricting the use of antibiotics in farm animals to curb the global spread of infections.

Cameron Harsh, senior manager for organic and animal policy for he Center for Food Safety, explains continuously dosing animals creates stronger strains of bacteria, which makes antibiotics less effective at fighting infections in people.

He says the report is a wake-up call for policymakers to reform common factory farming practices.

“Producers can crowd animals, have higher stocking densities, and they’re getting animals to grow faster on less feed,” he points out. “So, in the long run, these have been misused as a tool to raise more meat and poultry products faster and more cheaply.“

According to the report, from the Britain-based Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, some 700,000 people die each year worldwide from antibiotic-resistant infections, and that number could rise to 10 million per year by 2050.

Industry groups say they’re using antibiotics to keep animals healthy, and maintain the practice is necessary to keep costs down.

Doctors report for the first time in the U.S, a patient has come in to receive care infected with a bacteria that’s resistant to every known antibiotic. Harsh and others see it as a possible result of livestock antibiotic use. He notes that making sure animals have good feed, can access the outdoors and have enough space to lie down helps boost their natural immune systems. And he says an increasing number of people are willing to pay more for drug-free meat, dairy and eggs.

“You’re seeing a lot of companies make strong statements about antibiotic use in their supplies, and make strong commitments to reduce use,” he points out. “But transparency is going to be an important step moving forward, so that consumers can make informed food decisions in the marketplace.“

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has introduced guidelines that would require farmers to get antibiotics from licensed veterinarians, instead of over the counter at the local feed store, and has asked drug makers to voluntarily remove growth-promotion claims from labels.

Harsh maintains those moves don’t go far enough.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

TRUMP RELEASES LIST OF VETERANS GROUPS THAT GOT DONATIONS, RANTS AGAINST MEDIA

Several of the checks were dated May 24, the same date of Trump’s interview with The Washington Post, which had raised questions about where the promised money was.


WHAT AMERICANS THINK ABOUT THE WAY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ARE CHOSEN

An AP-NORC polls finds that many have little faith in either the Democratic or Republican nomination system, and oppose the superdelegates who have a substantial say in the Democratic race.


FEARS RISE FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS TRAPPED IN FALLUJAH

Iraqi forces are pressing an offensive to dislodge Islamic State militants from the city, where an aid group warns a “human catastrophe” is unfolding.


CLINTON LANDS COVETED ENDORSEMENT FROM CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN

The endorsement comes a week before the California primary, where Bernie Sanders hopes to score an upset victory.


POLICE INVESTIGATE PARENTS OF BOY RESCUED FROM GORILLA

Authorities said the investigation will look at the parents’ actions - not the operation of the zoo, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


HOW WALMART IS TRYING TO GROW OVERSEAS AND WIN OVER PRIZED CHINA

The company has to shed some of its American ways and cater to very different customs, like letting customers in China sift through piles of fish.


MORE THAN 1,000 MIGRANTS DIE IN PAST WEEK TRYING TO CROSS THE MEDITERRANIAN

The staggering death toll could foreshadow more disasters in coming months as the region gears up for the traditional summer-fall spike in human trafficking.


RESIDENTS FLEE AS SWOLLEN RIVER FEEDS FLOODING NEAR HOUSTON

More rain expected later this week could keep the Brazos River in major flood stage into the weekend.


WHY HOVERBOARD MANUFACTUERS WANT A SECOND CHANCE

Segway will begin taking pre-orders for a new hoverboard called the MiniPro, which along with other new powered scooters, have passed new safety standards designed to prevent fires.


DREW PETERSON FOUND GUILTY OF TRYING TO HIRE SOMEONE TO KILL PROSECUTOR

The ex-suburban Chicago police officer was convicted of trying to hire a fellow inmate’s uncle while in prison to kill the prosecutor who helped convict him in his ex-wife’s slaying.

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