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WVDNR Urges Hunters to Know Their DNR ID Number Before Buck Firearms Season

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) urges hunters to make sure they know their DNR identification number (DNR ID#) well before the buck firearms season begins Monday, November 21, to ensure they will be ready to electronically check in their animals.

Using their DNR ID#, hunters may check their game by calling 1.844.wvcheck (1.844.982.4325), by smartphone or computer at www.wvhunt.com, or by going to a license agent.

Most hunters obtained their personal lifetime DNR ID# last year. Any first-time or returning hunters may visit www.wvhunt.com or any license agent to get their number.

The Free Press WV


Annual license buyers will find their DNR ID# in the upper left corner of their license.

Lifetime license holders have already been assigned a number. They can visit www.wvhunt.com and log on with their Social Security number and date of birth to verify their information and get their number. If they are unable to log on, they should call the DNR headquarters at 304.558.2758 for assistance. However, if they try to enroll as a new customer, they will be assigned a second DNR ID# which will cause problems when they try to check in their game.

Hunters not required to purchase a license, such as resident landowners and youth age 15 and younger, may obtain a DNR ID# by visiting www.wvhunt.com or a license agent.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  Capito Would Set Aside Tax Credits for Hard-Hit Coal Towns

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito is introducing legislation to set aside $525 million in federal tax credits for investments in communities hurt by the downturn in coal.

The West Virginia Republican’s bill would allocate 5 percent of the federal new market tax credits for 12 states with counties that had significant coal job loss between 2012 and 2015.

According to Capito, the program was enacted in 2000 for projects like mixed-use redevelopments, health care facilities, manufacturing sites and direct business investments.

Over the next three years, $3.5 billion in credits will be allocated annually.

Investors get a 39 percent credit on their federal income tax, taken in increments over seven years.

The 12 states are Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.


►  Clay Tries to Move Past Michelle Obama Post

As a small West Virginia community tries to move past the backlash of a racist Facebook post that targeted first lady Michelle Obama, a council member had some inviting words for outsiders who look down on her town.

“Come see us,“ Joyce Gibson said. “Spend a day with us. If I knew you would come, I would bake a cake. We’re very decent people.“

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling resigned Tuesday and the Town Council later met to accept it. The resignation came after another woman whose post Whaling responded to was placed on leave as director of the nonprofit Clay County Development Corp.

The council meeting was brief, with councilman Jason Hubbard reading a statement condemning the “horrible and indecent” post. He apologized on behalf of the town to Michelle Obama and anyone who was offended.

“Please don’t judge the entire community for one or two individual acts,“ Hubbard said.

The council plans to act quickly to name a replacement for the remaining three years of Whaling’s term.

“She was a good mayor, I thought, and she knew how to get things done,“ Gibson said. “It’s just a shame that this has happened. But, you know, there could be good things come out of it.“

She doesn’t know what that will be or how the town will repair itself “unless we just go day by day to live like we have lived,“ Gibson said.

Clay County Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Republican Donald Trump’s election as president, saying of incoming first lady Melania Trump: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.“

Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.“

Whaling later issued a written apology to news media outlets, saying her comment wasn’t intended to be racist.

“I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist!“

Taylor, who told WCHS-TV on Monday night that she was put on leave, did not return a call seeking comment.

Gibson said the post gave the town of about 500 residents a label it didn’t want. After news of the post circled the globe, the small office’s voicemail system quickly filled to capacity with irate callers. An online campaign calling for Taylor and Whaling to resign drew tens of thousands of responses.

The nonpartisan town council has five members, plus the town recorder and mayor. Whaling’s seat was empty during Tuesday’s meeting in a small office attended by a few local residents along with several journalists and some people from outside the area who said they wanted to see justice served.

Annie Thacker of Barrackville drove 117 miles to the meeting.

“I saw what was happening in small town West Virginia,“ she said. “I’m from small town West Virginia. I wanted to see hate put down in West Virginia, especially after this election cycle. Everyone’s watching.“

Lish Greiner of Belpre, Ohio, said she had volunteered during flood cleanup in West Virginia over the summer and returned for the town council meeting because “I will not tolerate hate in my home and in my area.“

Clay County Development, which provides services to elderly and low-income residents in the county, is funded through state and federal grants and local fees. It is not affiliated with the town of Clay, which is about 50 miles east of Charleston.

The uproar occurred as the town is still trying to recover from severe flooding in late June along the nearby Elk River. Clay County also has been hit by hundreds of layoffs in the coal industry this decade.

Gibson was asked what was worse, the flood or the attention from the Facebook post.

“I’ll have to think about that,“ she said. “This (backlash) will go away.“


►  WV Supreme Court Won’t Permit Pipeline Surveys Without Landowners’ OK

In a case that could affect the path of natural gas pipelines in development in West Virginia, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Monroe County couple who objected to pipeline surveyors who wanted access to their property.

Justices ruled Tuesday that West Virginia’s eminent domain laws apply to projects that have a public use, but that the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline doesn’t specifically have a benefit for West Virginia because the natural gas isn’t necessarily going to be used here.

The Supreme Court’s ruling upheld a previous Mercer Circuit Court ruling: “We find no error,” Justice Robin Davis wrote.

The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline is meant to move gas from northern West Virginia to markets in the mid-Atlantic and southeast regions — in particular delivering gas to Roanoke Gas Company, a distribution company in Virginia.

The court case originated in 2015 when Monroe County residents Bryan and Doris McCurdy, who own 185 acres of land along the proposed pipeline route, objected to requests by an MVP agent to conduct surveys.

The issue went to circuit court, where Judge Robert Irons ruled in August, 2015, that state law does not authorize Mountain Valley Pipeline to enter the McCurdys’ property because the pipeline is not for a public use in West Virginia.

The state Supreme Court agreed.

“MVP has been unable to identify even a single West Virginia consumer, or a West Virginia natural gas producer who is not affiliated with MVP, who will derive a benefit from MVP’s pipeline,” Davis wrote for the court.

Justice Menis Ketchum dissented, saying he doesn’t believe corporations should have the power to take a person’s land by eminent domain in the first place but the laws enacted by the Legislature clearly allow it. Ketchum said this case presented a twist, though.

“The issue in this case is simply whether the proposed right-of-way for a gas transportation pipeline across private property is for a ‘public use,‘” Ketchum wrote. “If the taking is for a ‘public use’ then the private corporation has the legal right to enter the property to inspect and survey the land before filing a condemnation action.”

Ketchum wrote that there would be West Virginia benefits in the form of royalties, jobs and severance taxes. Those all could be considered public use, he wrote.

“The majority opinion and the circuit judge narrowly define the term ‘public use,’ even though our Court has continually expanded the definition,” Ketchum wrote. “They decline to follow the modern approach adopted in the well-reasoned cases of the majority of jurisdictions in the United States and the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Justice Allen Loughry wrote a concurring opinion, meaning he sided with the majority but wanted to express some differences in the details. “I write separately to stress the continued importance of this state’s eminent domain laws to our citizenry and to make clear that this Court’s ruling should not be viewed as a vote against the pipeline project.”

But Loughry said the mere act of transporting natural gas across the state border can’t be ruled as “public use.”

“When and if a public use can be demonstrated, through evidence establishing that West Virginians uncontrovertably wil hae access to this gas, or through legislative or constitutional amendments which provide that shipping this state’s natural gas via pipeline across county and state lines without providing for usage by our citizens constitutes a public use for the purposes of eminent domain, then Mountain Valley can proceed to obtain the surey it desires by means of West Virginia Code 54-1-3.

“Until such time, however, the trial court was correct in ruling that “the public interest favors an injunction … to prevent a private business from entering the private property of West Virginians under statute that grants it no right.”


►  Feds reveal charges in DOH pay-for-play scheme

Four individuals and a corporation are all charged in a pay-for-play scheme which involved the West Virginia Division of Highways.  U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld of the Northern District of West Virginia revealed the results of the more than year-long investigation into the scheme.  He claimed those charged worked to steer contracts with the West Virginia Division of Highways to a South Carolina based engineering company in exchange for bribes and kickbacks.

Bruce E. Kenney, III, Andrew P. Nichols, James Travis Miller, and Mark R. Whitt have been charged in the scheme which caused $1.5 million worth of highway work to be routed to the Dennis Corporation, a Columbia, South Carolina engineering consulting firm. Bayliss and Ramey, Inc., a Putnam County highway electrical contractor, has also been charged.

Kenney , 60, of Norfolk, Virginia is charged as the mastermind of the scheme.

“Bruce Kenney was the rainmaker,” said Ihlenfeld. “He was a high level trusted employee within the DOH Traffic Engineering Division. He used his position in order to bypass normal state procedures and funnel structural inspection work to the Dennis Corporation.”

In exchange, federal prosecutors say he received $200,000 in compensation along with extravagant all expense paid vacation trips to the Bahamas and Mexico. The federal prosecutor said at one point Kenney was working for both the WV DOH and Dennis Corporation.  He’s charged by Information with honest services wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to impede the Internal Revenue Service.

Nichols, 38, of Lesage, WV is an engineering professor at Marshall University and also worked as manger of the West Virginia Division of the Dennis Corporation.

“He was involved in making sure financial relationships were made properly and cash payments were made,”  said Ihlenfeld. “He’s also charged with lying to federal agents.”

Nichols was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and money laundering, along with obstructing justice and making false statements.

Miller, 40, of Hurricane, W.Va, also worked for the Division of Highways before leaving to work for the Dennis Corporation. He is alleged to have delivered covert payments to Kenney in exchange for official actions done in favor of Dennis Corporation. Miller was charged by Information with money laundering conspiracy.

Whitt, 52, of Winfield, W.Va, was the president and owner of Bayliss and Ramey, Inc.,which was awarded the statewide signal maintenance contract in 2009.

“Whitt got pulled in to help funnel this inspection work to the Dennis Corporation under a signal maintenance contract that didn’t call for inspections to be done,” Ihlenfeld explained. “Mr. Whitt marked up the invoices he submitted to the state of West Virginia by 20 percent. At the end of the day, the state of West Virginia had to pay higher prices for engineering services than it really should have.”

Ihlenfeld claimed the crimes involved in the scheme went on from 2008 until 2014 and added this isn’t over yet.

“When we returned an indictment last September involving the Division of Highways ,the next day we got a phone call about this case,” said Ihlenfeld. “We’ve charged four people and this one is still ongoing.  There are going to be more charges filed in the not to distant future.  There are others involved in this scheme.”


►  Most agencies in WV will have to cut two percent from their budgets, a continuation of years of reductions

The majority leader in the West Virginia House of Delegates is “not surprised” that Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is implementing mid-year budget cuts for state agencies that will work out to about two percent for most departments and divisions.

“It certainly seems like necessary action by the governor,” said House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan, 58).

Altogether, the cuts add up to about $59.8 million including about $11 million, or roughly one percent, from the School Aid Formula which funds public education and a $25 million, one-time Medicaid reduction.

An additional $25.5 million, currently dedicated to the Workers Compensation Debt Reduction Fund, is also being redirected. A state hiring freeze will continue and all nonessential travel for state employees remains restricted.

“As a mid-year situation, we’re very limited in what actions the governor can take,” explained Chris Stadelman, chief of staff for the Tomblin Administration.

“We looked at a four percent cut last year, this is not as dramatic, and tried to take the action early enough that the agencies, including higher ed, have about two-thirds of their fiscal year left in which to try to absorb that.”

As of November 02, revenue collections were $87.4 million below estimates. In October, the consumer sales tax and corporate net income tax collections saw the largest performance shortfalls compared with expectations.

Faced with those numbers, in Tomblin’s view, the budget cuts are the “responsible thing to do,” according to Stadelman, with Inauguration Day for Governor-elect Jim Justice in less than two months.

“He (Governor Tomblin) certainly does not want to leave Governor-elect Justice with any more financial difficulties than we’re already aware the new Legislature and the new administration will be facing,” Stadelman said.

The two percent reduction may not be the last of the necessary money-saving measures for the current budget year.

“We still project an additional deficit going forward, hopefully that doesn’t come to pass,” Stadelman said. “The negative numbers have subsided somewhat. We don’t know that this will take care of everything, but at least gives the agencies some time to deal with that.”

This fiscal year continues through the end of June 2017.

In all, Tomblin has reduced the state budget by $400 million dollars, or ten percent, during the past four years, he noted.

Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a tobacco tax increase, but did not address other revenue measures Tomblin had proposed, including a telecommunications tax.

“If we had additional revenue, there would be fewer cuts,” Stadelman said during an appearance on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

In September, legislative leaders created the bipartisan Joint Committee on Government Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability, or GATE, Committee for a full review of the full state government structure.

Committee members are working to identify ways to consolidate, streamline or make wholesale reforms to improve government efficiency and reduce costs.

Going forward, “I think we have a good crew in the Legislature and we’re focused on finding that balance and finding the best way forward that treats the taxpayer fairly,” Cowles said.


►  Officials Confiscate 10th Gun at Yeager Airport This Year

Transportation Security Administration officials have discovered a loaded handgun at Yeager Airport in Charleston.

The discovery of the gun marked the 10th time a person has brought a gun to the airport this year. In 2015, only two people brought in guns to the airport.

The TSA says in a news release that the pistol was discovered in a man’s carry-on bag at a security checkpoint Tuesday. The owner was issued a citation.

Yeager Airport police chief Joe Crawford encourages travelers to double-check their bags before attempting to pass through security checkpoints.


►  Unemployment Rate Climbs in October

Unemployment increased in West Virginia in October but has declined over the past year.

The state said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was 6 percent, with an increase of 2,400 unemployed residents, bringing the total to 47,900.

The West Virginia Department of Commerce said total unemployment was down 2,300 over the year.

The national unemployment rate declined slightly to 4.9 percent.

In the goods-producing sector, construction had employment losses of 600, and manufacturing lost 200. That was offset by a gain of 900 in mining and logging. In the service-providing sector, employment increased 500 in education and health services; 300 in trade, transportation and utilities; 200 in professional and business services; and 700 in other services. Employment fell 1,200 in financial activities, 700 in government, 200 in leisure and hospitality, and 100 in information.


►  Lunsford waives preliminary hearing, case will go to grand jury

Lena Lunsford, the mother charged in the death of her 3-year-old daugher, waived her preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Lunsford was in a Lewis County court room Wednesday for the second time since she was charged with the death of her daughter Aliayah.

According to our crew at the court house, Lunsford asked for her $250,000 bond to be reduced and to be a candidate for home confinement. Both requests were denied.

The case will now go to a grad jury.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • There simply aren’t two-to-three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records for President Trump to deport. FiveThirtyEight

  • President Obama must speed up his clemency work before he leaves office in two months — and there are reasonable ways he can. U.S. News & World Report

  • What does a science-hostile Trump administration portend for criminal justice reform? The Crime Report

  • It sure doesn’t bode well for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Huffington Post

  • The terrifying prospect of Rudy Giuliani as attorney general. His record in New York, and since, suggests a level of authoritarianism that would be dangerous to a rule of law. By Radley Balko. The Washington Post

  • So now Rudy Giuliani is rumored for Secretary of State — and that raises questions about his global business dealings. The New York Times

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

TRUMP: TRANSITION PROCEEDING ‘SO SMOOTHLY’

The president-elect and his team reject charges that infighting is roiling efforts to set up his White House, national security and economic teams.


SYRIAN WARPLANES POUND ALEPPO

Bombs rain down on the beleaguered city for a second straight day, battering a rebel-held area that also houses several medical facilities.


ANCIENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURES DESTROYED

Iraqi troops entering the ancient city of Nimrud, near Mosul, find that Islamic State extremists left behind extensive damage.


COP CHARGED IN SLAYING MADE KNOWN VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

The Minnesota officer is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the killing of a black man whose girlfriend streamed the gruesome aftermath of the shooting live on Facebook.


WHERE VAST OIL FIELD HAS BEEN DISCOVERED

Shale rock in west Texas could yield 20 billion barrels of oil, making it the largest source of shale oil the U.S. Geological Survey has ever assessed.


FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY DIES AT 94

Melvin Laird served in the cabinet during the years President Nixon struggled to find a way to withdraw troops from an unpopular war in Vietnam.


WHAT HASN’T HELPED DRIVE DOWN DRUG PRICES

Congress has issued more than a dozen subpoenas to price-hiking drugmakers and berated execs for more than 16 hours of public hearings. But drug costs haven’t budged.


AT CLIMATE CONFERENCE, KERRY PARRIES SKEPTICS

The secretary of state says an “overwhelming majority” of Americans know climate change is happening and want the U.S. honor its commitments under the Paris climate agreement.


WHO HAD STARRY FLING WITH HARRISON FORD

Carrie Fisher reveals that Princess Leia’s romance with Han Solo in “Star Wars” extended off-screen, as well.


BASEBALL HONORS SEASON’S BEST PITCHERS

Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox wins the AL Cy Young Award while Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals takes the NL prize.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►  Woman Blames DWI Charge on Trump

To cope with a shock as great as Donald Trump winning the US election, sometimes you just have to drink—and drive home? That was essentially the argument of a Minnesota woman after she rear-ended a vehicle at a stoplight, causing minor injuries, a day after last week’s election, according to Lino Lakes police. After officers say she failed field sobriety tests and was unable to spell her name—an officer also said he found an empty bottle of vodka in her purse—Elizabeth Lundberg, 33, told police, “I am upset over the outcome of the election and you should let me go home,“ reports Fox 9. “We heard a new excuse for driving over 4 times the legal limit and hitting two vehicles at a stop light Wednesday afternoon,“ cops said in a Facebook post. Surprise: Officers did not oblige. Instead, they took Lundberg to the police station for a breath sample.

There, she fell over, grabbed the breath test machine and broke it, police say, per KARE. She then had to be taken to another police department where she was found to have a blood-alcohol content four times the legal limit, according to police. She’s now charged with criminal vehicular operation and driving while intoxicated, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which spoke to Lundberg as she left jail on Thursday. Lundberg, who admitted to drinking prior to the crash, said she uttered the comment about the election “well after I asked if everyone was OK, and I said it sarcastically.“ “I did not shed a tear when [Trump] was elected,“ she added. “I’m not really into politics, frankly.“ Further, “I think it’s strange that a police department can tweet something someone said that is so outlandish.“ She’s due back in court in January.


►  When Dad Dies on Trail, Boy Scout Leads Kids to Safety

When his father suddenly died while leading 34 Boy Scouts and chaperones on a 19-mile hike in the Appalachian Mountains in New Hampshire, 16-year-old David Norton didn’t panic. Instead, he led just as his father had done. David, who hails from Acton, Mass., was in charge of a group of intermediate-level Scouts on Sunday when he was told his father had collapsed further up the mountain. James Norton was telling the kids “to be careful where they walked because it was slippery,“ James Norton’s mother tells the Boston Globe. Then “there was silence and a thud.“ Suspecting his father had suffered a heart attack, per the New York Daily News, David led his charges down the mountain through tears until he found a cellphone signal and called home.

“I know he would’ve wanted me to lead the rest of the Scouts in the medium group down. And make sure they got there OK. It was really icy and probably dangerous,“ says David, who later learned his father had died of a heart attack after almost two hours of CPR, per Massachusetts Live. James’ mother says her son’s goal had been to teach children about nature. “Through his laughter, sense of humor, and desire to make Scouting fun, James showed the Scouts that anything was possible,“ a fellow Scout leader says. Adds David: “He lived for the Scout oath and law. Everything he did was an embodiment of those two things.“


►  Denver Loosens Its Pot Laws Even More

As five more states voted to legalize recreational marijuana last week, Denver took it a step further: A ballot measure to allow social marijuana use has narrowly passed, according to vote count updates released Tuesday, the Denver Post reports. The measure will allow marijuana use in “consumption areas” at businesses including bars, cafes, and even yoga studios. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, but public consumption remained banned. Backers of the latest measure described it as a way to give tourists—and residents whose landlords ban pot—a place to legally smoke or vape marijuana.

“This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings,“ said Kayvan Khalatbari, who co-owns a marijuana business and was the measure’s main supporter. Under the four-year pilot program, which supporters hope will serve as an example for the rest of the country, “pot patios” could spring up at bars and other businesses, though state law bans the consumption of marijuana at places that sell it, KREM reports. And because Colorado law bans smoking in almost all indoor public areas, you still won’t be able to smoke a joint at a bar—unless it’s a cigar bar.


►  Nephew in Making a Murderer Is Freed

A man whose homicide conviction was overturned in a case profiled in the Netflix series Making a Murderer was ordered released Monday from federal prison while prosecutors appeal. US Magistrate Judge William Duffin ordered Brendan Dassey’s release contingent upon him meeting multiple conditions, reports the AP. The judge ruled in August that investigators tricked Dassey into confessing he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape, kill, and mutilate photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. The state has appealed that ruling. Dassey’s attorney, Steve Drizin, said he had not spoken yet with Dassey, but he hoped to have him out of prison in time for Thanksgiving. “That’s what I’m focused on right now, getting him home, getting him with his family and then helping him to re-integrate back into society while his appeal plays out,“ Drizin said.

A rep for Wisconsin AG Brad Schimel, who had asked that Dassey not be released pending the appeal, had no immediate response. Dassey was 16 when Halbach died. He’s now 27. Duffin ruled in August that investigators made promises of leniency to Dassey and that no “fair-minded jurists could disagree.“ He cited one investigator’s comment that “you don’t have to worry about things,“ plus repeated comments like “it’s OK” and that they already knew what happened. Schimel said investigators didn’t promise leniency and specifically told Dassey that no promises could be made. Dassey was sentenced to life in 2007. Court documents describe him as a slow learner who had poor grades and has difficulty understanding language and speaking. Avery was convicted in a separate trial and was also sentenced to life in prison. He’s pursuing his own appeal. Their cases gained national attention after Making a Murderer spawned widespread conjecture about their innocence.


►  Chili’s Manager Takes Away Vet’s Free Veterans Day Meal

The parent company of Chili’s says it wants to make things right after a veteran had his free meal taken away on Veterans Day, the AP reports. Ernest Walker posted a video to Facebook on Friday of a manager taking away his meal at a Chili’s in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill. The Army vet writes that the meal was taken away after another diner raised questions about the uniform Walker was wearing. Walker says the manager took his meal even after he showed him his military ID and discharge papers. Walker says he bought the fatigues he was wearing after he was discharged as a tribute to his service.

Walker tells KDFW-TV that he believes another diner, also a veteran, was the one who raised doubts about his service. “He said, ‘Well, I was in World War II in Germany and they didn’t have any blacks over there then.’ He’s an older guy so I let that stuff go,“ Walker says. But then he was approached by the manager, who told him, “We have guests that say you are not a legitimate military veteran,“ says Walker. Brinker International, which owns Chili’s, tells KDFW that it’s taking the matter “very seriously.“ Walker’s lawyer is set to meet with the company Monday. “Unfortunately, we fell short on a day that we strive to honor our Veterans and active military for their service,“ the restaurant chain wrote on Facebook, per CBS.


►  Engagement Broken, Couple Battles Over $125K Ring

One minute you’re registering for monogrammed guest towels and a $1,090 vase; the next, you’re embroiled in a lawsuit over a $125,000 engagement ring. Such is the sad story of former Manhattan couple Bradley Moss and Amy Bzura, who were engaged to be married October 29. For reasons not specified in the lawsuit, the wedding did not occur, even though Bzura had posted on Instagram just a week before the nuptials were supposed to take place, “I can’t wait to be your nagging and annoying Jewish wife. You mean everything to me.“ On November 3, Moss asked in a letter to Bzura that the ring be returned, the New York Post reports. She “has willfully and maliciously refused,“ per the lawsuit Moss then filed.

Moss, who runs a pipe supply company, and Bzura, an advertising professional, started dating in June 2012 and cohabitated for more than three years on the East Side. They got engaged on November 07, 2015, which is when the square emerald-cut diamond engagement ring came into play. Moss’s lawsuit calls for its return, or for Bzura to pay him its cash value plus interest. The suit also calls for the court to determine additional punitive damages. As Yahoo News reports, New York is a “no-fault” state when it comes to such matters, which likely means Bzura will be required to return the ring even if she’s not the one who called off the engagement.


►  Our Pennies Have Ruined Ben Franklin’s Grave

For decades, visitors to Philadelphia’s Christ Church Burial Ground have thrown pennies at the flat gravestone of Benjamin Franklin as a tribute to the man who coined the phrase “a penny saved, is a penny earned.“ Now officials need 1 million pennies to help fix it, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Christ Church Preservation Trust says a large crack has appeared in the marble marker as a result of weather exposure, and its surface has been marked by hundreds of thousands of pennies tossed at it each year. The trust, which collects roughly $5,000 in pennies annually, isn’t peeved by the tradition. But it is looking for $10,000 to cover repair costs not covered by grants.

The Free Press WV

“We have to remove his marker and do some work underneath of it and then raise it slightly” in order to preserve “our greatest artifact,“ the burial ground manager tells CBS Philadelphia, noting water has been seeping beneath the 226-year-old slab, causing it to nearly crack in two. Hoping Franklin fans will throw some pennies at its cause, the trust has started a GoFundMe page, which has raised $1,500 for the “national shrine” as of this writing. The goal is to raise the required funds by December 31 “in order to have Franklin’s grave preserved by the anniversary of his death in April 2017,“ the page reads.


►  The Doctor Died in 2002. Or So Prosecutors Thought

As Jim Morrison put it, “we live, we die, and death not ends it.“ Truer words were perhaps never spoken about Tigran Svadjian, a California doctor who died on a Moscow street on October 20, 2002—but didn’t. The Los Angeles Times looks at the story of the man they call “Doctor who,“ a case that began in 1998, when the 40-year-old native of Armenia expanded upon his own Orange County medical practice with the purchase of the Southwest Medical Group. The group was already in the government’s crosshairs, having allegedly committed some $13 million in medical fraud. Svadjian insisted he was clean, but a 14-month audit completed in 2002 found he could only furnish 13 medical records of the 200 the state asked for.

Facing allegations of bilking the state of $1.9 million and 10 years in prison, he agreed to wear a wire and help prosecutors get his co-conspirators. He just had to go to Russia first to visit his sick mother. On October 31, prosecutors got a fax from the US Embassy in Moscow: Svadjian was dead of pneumonia. In 2013, the statute of limitations having expired, the evidence against him was trashed. Except he wasn’t dead. Viktoras Cajevkis (a Lithuanian) was stopped in a Kiev, Ukraine, airport in July. His passport was fake, and it led officials to Hurghada, Egypt, where Cajevkis was found to be Vasily Petrosov (a Russian), a scuba instructor who lived with his pregnant girlfriend and their child. Petrosov was, yes, Tigran Svadjian. Read the full story to learn what Petrosov faces now, and how $200 was all it took to “die.“


►  UVa Staff, Students to President: Stop Quoting Jefferson

“Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today” was one of Thomas Jefferson’s “canons of conduct,“ and so faculty and students at the college he founded, the University of Virginia, wasted little time in responding to an email from the school’s president that quoted POTUS No. 3. Per the Cavalier Daily, the school’s student paper, President Teresa Sullivan sent out a November 9 email to address the presidential election, calling on the university community to unite after the contentious election. “Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students ‘are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes,‘“ she wrote in her message, imploring students to “embrace that responsibility.“

But while the quote itself may be inspirational, its source owned slaves and espoused other racist views. A rebuttal letter crafted by university professors that garnered 469 signatures (from both faculty and students) was sent noting that Sullivan’s inclusion of the quote from Jefferson “undermines the message of unity, equality, and civility that you are attempting to convey,“ especially in the wake of what the Richmond Times-Dispatch calls “identity-related hate speech” incidents that have taken place recently. Sullivan’s response: her use of a Jefferson quote doesn’t mean she endorses “all the social structures and beliefs of his time.“ Still, she acknowledges the letter-signers’ “right to speak out on issues that matter to all of us, including the University’s complicated Jeffersonian legacy.“


►  Oklahoma Airport Murder Wasn’t Random

Oklahoma City police investigators are trying to figure out why a man waited to gun down an airline employee outside Will Rogers World Airport in an ambush that prompted authorities to shut down the state’s busiest airport for hours. Police Capt. Paco Balderrama says the suspected shooter was found dead inside a pickup truck on Tuesday from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. They believe he watched airport employees come and go before shooting and killing 52-year-old Michael Winchester, a Southwest Airlines employee, the AP reports.

Balderrama said late Tuesday that investigators hadn’t positively identified the shooter, but he noted that the man apparently knew Winchester’s schedule and routine and that the two men likely knew one another. “This was not random,“ he said, per the Oklahoman. The New York Times reports that Winchester, a former player for the University of Oklahoma football team, is the father of Kansas City Chiefs players James Winchester.


►  5 Utah High-School Students Stabbed in Boys’ Locker Room

As a group of boys at a Utah high school changed into gym clothes for physical education class Tuesday morning, a straight-A student pulled out a knife in the locker room and stabbed five of his classmates, sending the injured running for their lives and covered in blood, police said. The 16-year-old suspect with no record of disciplinary trouble also stabbed himself in the neck and was cornered by school workers until a police officer assigned to Mountain View High School got to the locker room and subdued him with a Taser shot, the AP reports. Four of the injured students were still hospitalized Tuesday afternoon in conditions ranging from fair to critical after suffering neck and torso injuries, said Orem police Lt. Craig Martinez.

School district spokesperson Kimberly Bird said the suspect was a new sophomore student who was previously homeschooled. There were no indications he was having problems or being bullied, she said. Investigators are talking to students who witnessed the attack and who knew the suspect as they try to determine a motive, said police chief Gary Giles. In the mayhem immediately after the attack, junior Karen Martinez said she saw three victims run from the locker room toward the school’s central office, one suffering from a head wound and another with a neck injury. One had blood running down the back of his shirt, she said. “It was awful,“ said Martinez. “It was so terrifying.“


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In The World….

The Free Press WV

►  Here Are the World’s 5 Best Airlines

“Get Lucky” could very well be New Zealand’s theme song, at least when it comes to its national airline. CNN reports that for the fourth time, Air New Zealand has captured first place in AirlineRatings.com’s 2017 Airline Excellence Awards, which rated airlines around the world on criteria including safety, environmental leadership, financials, and in-flight innovations. “Air New Zealand came out number one in virtually all of our audit criteria, which is an exceptional performance,“ site editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas says in a release. Here, others in the top five:

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Qantas
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. Cathay Pacific Airlines
  5. Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic

More that earned top honors HERE .


►  Are American Weapons Being Used to Kill Civilians in Yemen?

Saudi Arabia is using American-made weapons in a destructive campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, the New York Times reports. The remains of US-made, laser-guided bombs have been found in the wreckage of multiple deadly airstrikes—including an attack on a funeral last month, which killed 140 people. A Saudi-led Arab military coalition intervened to support Yemen’s government after Houthi rebels backed by Iran took over the capital city of Sanaa and drove the government into exile in 2014. With the Iranian military supporting the Houthis, and the Saudi-led coalition supporting the government, the conflict quickly ground to a stalemate. As the fight rages on, the NYT reports, the Saudi coalition has taken to targeting bridges, ports, and other infrastructure targets—often with American-made bombs.

Saudi Arabia purchased almost $4 billion of military equipment and construction services from the US in 2014, according to FactCheck.org. And in August of this year, the US State Department approved a new sale of $1.15 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale “conveys US commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security and armed forces modernization.“ The sale occurred right around the time Saudi Arabia was intensifying its air campaign within Yemen. Despite concerns from human-rights groups, the US State Department refused to address the concern that the weapons would be used against civilians in Yemen, the Guardian reports. A State Department spokesperson would only say: “We regularly talk to our partners and our allies around the world. You know, civilian casualties are obviously of grave concern to us.“


►  The Doctor Died in 2002. Or So Prosecutors Thought

As Jim Morrison put it, “we live, we die, and death not ends it.“ Truer words were perhaps never spoken about Tigran Svadjian, a California doctor who died on a Moscow street on October 20, 2002—but didn’t. The Los Angeles Times looks at the story of the man they call “Doctor who,“ a case that began in 1998, when the 40-year-old native of Armenia expanded upon his own Orange County medical practice with the purchase of the Southwest Medical Group. The group was already in the government’s crosshairs, having allegedly committed some $13 million in medical fraud. Svadjian insisted he was clean, but a 14-month audit completed in 2002 found he could only furnish 13 medical records of the 200 the state asked for.

Facing allegations of bilking the state of $1.9 million and 10 years in prison, he agreed to wear a wire and help prosecutors get his co-conspirators. He just had to go to Russia first to visit his sick mother. On October 31, prosecutors got a fax from the US Embassy in Moscow: Svadjian was dead of pneumonia. In 2013, the statute of limitations having expired, the evidence against him was trashed. Except he wasn’t dead. Viktoras Cajevkis (a Lithuanian) was stopped in a Kiev, Ukraine, airport in July. His passport was fake, and it led officials to Hurghada, Egypt, where Cajevkis was found to be Vasily Petrosov (a Russian), a scuba instructor who lived with his pregnant girlfriend and their child. Petrosov was, yes, Tigran Svadjian. Read the full story to learn what Petrosov faces now, and how $200 was all it took to “die.“


►  In Germany, a Massive Raid, a Ban on the ‘True Religion’

Hundreds of police officers searched about 190 offices, mosques, and apartments of members and supporters of the Islamic group “The True Religion” as the German government announced a ban of the organization Tuesday, the AP reports. Police raided places in 60 cities in western Germany and Berlin seizing documents and files, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said. Nobody was detained. The group—also known as “Read!“—has been distributing German-language copies of the Koran across the country. The interior minister said that more than 140 youths had traveled to Syria and Iraq to join fighters there after having participated in the group’s campaigns in Germany.

“The translations of the Koran are being distributed along with messages of hatred and unconstitutional ideologies,“ de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin. “Teenagers are being radicalized with conspiracy theories.“ The minister stressed that the ban does not restrict freedom of religion in Germany or the peaceful practice of Islam in any way, but that the group had glorified terrorism and the fight against the German constitution in videos and meetings. “We don’t want terrorism in Germany ... and we don’t want to export terrorism,“ de Maiziere said, adding that the ban was also a measure to help protect peaceful Islam.


►  Cows Stranded by Quake Rescued

Three New Zealand cows whose predicament captured the interest people around the world after they became stranded on a small island of grass following a powerful earthquake have been rescued, the AP reports. The two cows and a calf were rescued after a farmer and some helpers dug a track to them and brought them out, reports Newshub, which first filmed the cows stuck on the patch of grass near the township of Kaikoura after the magnitude 7.8 quake triggered landslides around them. The farmer says the cows were part of a group of 14 that survived, though many more are believed lost.

The farmer tells Newshub that he would have liked to rescue the trio sooner, but it wasn’t clear whether there was going to be another quake. After being rescued, the cows “desperately needed water, cows don’t like living without water so that was the first requirement, and I think one or two had lost calves in the earthquake so they were a bit distressed,“ but they are now safe, he says. The farmer says the fault line runs right through his farm. “It was very steep limestone bluff covered in lovely pasture a week ago and now it’s all in the gully,“ he says.


►  Hollande to U.S.: Climate Deal Is ‘Irreversible’

French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday urged the United States to respect the “irreversible” Paris Agreement on climate change, and said France will lead a dialogue on the topic with President-elect Donald Trump “on behalf of the 100 countries that have ratified” the deal. Speaking to a UN climate conference in Morocco, Hollande praised President Obama for his role in getting the landmark deal adopted by more than 190 countries in the French capital last year, the AP reports. “The United States, the most powerful economy in the world, the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, must respect the commitments that were made,“ he said. “It’s not simply their duty, it’s in their interest.“ Trump has called global warming a “hoax” and pledged during his campaign to “cancel” the Paris deal.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he hopes Trump will shift his course on global warming and “understand the seriousness and urgency” of addressing the problem. “As president of the United States, I’m sure that he will understand this, he will listen and he will evaluate his campaign remarks,“ Ban told reporters in Marrakech. Ban called international climate action “unstoppable” and said that no country, “however resourceful or powerful,“ is immune from the impacts of global warming. “We have no right to gamble with the fate of future generations—or imperil the survival of other species that share our planet,“ Ban told the conference. Trump’s election has created uncertainty about the US role in the Paris deal, which calls on all countries to reduce or curb their greenhouse gas emissions and encourages rich countries to help poor ones deal with climate change.


►  ICC: Probe Into American War Crimes May Be Coming

The International Criminal Court is talking about investigating Americans for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, a move that the State Department considers both unwarranted and inappropriate. The department says that not only is the US not a member of the ICC, it has its own justice system capable of dealing with such issues, reports Reuters. “The United States is deeply committed to complying with the law of war,“ spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said Tuesday. “We do not believe that an ICC examination or investigation with respect to actions of US personnel in relation to the situation in Afghanistan is warranted or appropriate.“

A report released Monday by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said there may be ground for prosecution because US service members “appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity” in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014, and CIA operatives may have tortured 27 detainees in Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, and Lithuania between 2004 and 2008, the AP reports. Bensouda said a decision is due imminently, though legal experts say it is “highly, highly unlikely” that any American will be prosecuted in the international court over the allegations, especially not if US authorities have conducted their own investigation.


►  Mysterious Fires Began in 2003. They’re Still Unexplained

To say that the fires were inexplicable is an understatement. They began in late December 2003 in Canneto di Caronia, an Italian town in the north of Sicily that counted fewer than 200 residents. The first home to be struck was that of Antonino Pezzino, whose fuse box went up in flames. Days later, fire struck again: his kitchen fan, his TV. His neighbors along Via Mare were victims next, and by March 2004, at least 92 fires had been logged, reports Ariel Ramchandani in the Atavist. “It is like we are living in a microwave,“ Pezzino said to a captivated press. Captivated because the fires were so weird and unexplained: Pezzino installed new electrical wiring and the fires persisted; the power was cut from the electrical plant to the homes and the fires persisted.

Over more than 11,000 words, Ramchandani catalogues the appearance and disappearance of the fires—done by June 2004, back that October, done by June 2005—and the extensive efforts to find their root cause. Government investigators, engineers, chemists, physicists, and geomagnetists descended on the town. Electrical lines, the railroad, volcanic gases, and seismic activity were considered and mostly rejected. One Catholic priest claimed it was the devil. A government-formed group suspected “intense bursts of electromagnetic waves of some kind,“ writes Ramchandani. Then, in July 2014, the fires came back with a vengeance. Police installed hidden cameras that implicated Pezzino’s now-25-year-old son, Giuseppe. Tapped phone lines led to his arrest, and his trial is underway. But many in no way believe Giuseppe started all those fires. Read the fascinating piece in full HERE .


►  ‘Fatty Kim the Third’ Not an OK Nickname in China

Chinese Internet users apparently have to search for news of Kim Jong Un by his given name, or at least not via the term “Jin San Pang”—meaning “Fatty Kim the Third.“ The phrase has been blocked on Chinese websites including social media site Weibo and search engine Baidu, reportedly at North Korea’s request, per Reuters and the AP. According to a Hong Kong newspaper, North Korean officials formally asked that China block searches for the term, which is popular among Chinese users online, perhaps because it manages to insult Kim as well as his father and grandfather.

Searches for the term return no results, though users can still search for “Kim Fat Fat Fat,“ notes the AP. In a vague statement, a rep for the Foreign Ministry says China has “a rational, cultured, and healthy environment for public opinion” and any reports that it banned searches for the term “did not accord with the facts,“ though China “does not approve of insulting or ridiculing language to address any country’s leader.“


►  Putin to International Criminal Court: Russia’s Out

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday to withdraw Russia from the International Criminal Court, which rules on such grave charges as genocide and crimes against humanity, the AP reports. Russia in 2000 signed the Rome treaty that established the Hague-based court but never ratified it. Putin’s decree, published on the Kremlin’s website, comes a day after the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee approved a resolution condemning Russia’s “temporary occupation of Crimea” and blamed Russia for rights abuses including discrimination against some Crimean residents, such as Tatars. Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 from Ukraine following a hastily called referendum, a move that led to crippling Western sanctions. A separatist insurgency erupted in eastern Ukraine the following month, backed by Russia.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, explained the withdrawal by “national interests” and argued that since Russia never ratified it, Wednesday’s decree was just a formality. Peskov also dismissed the ICC’s accusations of an “armed conflict” in Crimea, arguing that Crimea joined Russia after a legitimate popular vote. Russia’s foreign ministry insisted in a statement that Russia wants everyone implicated in grave international crimes to face justice but expressed frustration over the court’s work in recent years. “The court has unfortunately failed to match the hopes one had and did not become a truly independent and respected body of international justice,“ the ministry said. Just hours before Russia’s announcement, the UN human rights chief made a spirited defense of the ICC, entreating countries not to leave it. Several African nations have recently announced plans to leave the treaty.

Medical Marijuana May Reduce Opioid Abuse

The Free Press WV

Medical marijuana may reduce opioid painkiller use and abuse, three separate studies suggest.

Tara Holmes studied the issue this summer for the West Virginia Center On Budget and Policy. She said one of the studies that noted the clear benefits of medical marijuana was the 2015 National Bureau of Economic Research report.

“Providing broader access to medical marijuana may have the potential benefit of reducing abuse of highly-addictive painkillers,” Holmes concluded.

Separate research found fewer overdoses, and that older patients took fewer opioid painkillers in states that have approved medical marijuana use, she said. The West Virginia Legislature discussed legalizing cannabis for medical use last year, but some expressed concern that the move could increase abuse of what has sometimes been described as a “gateway drug.“

Several neighboring states are now in the process of implementing medical marijuana laws. West Virginia’s Legislature seems likely to consider the issue again in the next session, in part because marijuana could be a source of badly-needed revenue. And according to Holmes, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a significant health benefit.

“The 2014 study done by JAMA suggests that statewide legalization of marijuana is linked with lower state-level opioid overdoses,” she said.

The Free Press WV


Medical Marijuana patients often take a pharmaceutical grade extraction - and defenders say that shouldn’t be confused with the joints that might be sold by a street dealer. In fact, Holmes said a third study looked at the prescription habits of Medicare Part D patients. She said even though all were over 65, they took fewer opioid painkillers when medical marijuana was available; healthier, she said, and cheaper.

“They would choose that over an opioid-based painkiller. Also, on the flip side of that, the state wouldn’t be paying for these prescription drugs, and these people wouldn’t be paying for it out-of-pocket.“

West Virginia has a high rate of both chronic pain and opioid prescriptions. The state also has more than twice the national average rate of overdose deaths.

More information on Holmes’s finding is available here.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

‘Ape In Heels’: WV Officials Under Fire After Comments About Michelle Obama

The mayor of a tiny town in West Virginia has been swept up in a firestorm and the director of a local government-funded nonprofit has lost her job over racist comments about Michelle Obama.

After Donald Trump’s election as president, Pamela Ramsey Taylor, director of the Clay County Development Corp., took to Facebook to comment on the upcoming shift from Obama to Melania Trump, reportedly writing: “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House.”

She added: “I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”

NBC affiliate WSAZ reported that Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling then replied, “Just made my day Pam.”


The comments were later deleted — and both women’s Facebook pages were eventually removed, according to reports — but images of Taylor’s post and the mayor’s response have been shared widely on social media.

As of Tuesday morning, an online petition calling for the women’s terminations had garnered more than 100,000 signatures.

But by then, Taylor had already lost her job: A representative of Clay County Development Corp., a nonprofit funded with state and federal money, said Monday that the board “removed” Taylor from her position as director and appointed Leslie McGlothlin to take her place. McGlothlin did not respond to a request for comment.

Whaling, the mayor of the small town outside of Charleston, apologized in a statement sent to The Washington Post.

“My comment was not intended to be racist at all,” she wrote. “I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not of any way racist!

“Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand!”

Clay Town Councilman Jason Hubbard told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that town officials will address the incident at a previously scheduled council meeting Tuesday night.

Taylor could not be reached for comment, but WSAZ reported that she had issued an apology.

Taylor also told the news station that the public response had become a “hate crime against me,” explaining that she and her children had received death threats. She said she is planning to file a lawsuit against people who have slandered or libeled her, according to the news station.

The station reported that Taylor said she understood why her post may have been interpreted as racist, but insisted that it was not intended to be; she said she was referring to her own opinion about the first lady’s attractiveness, not about the color of her skin.

But there is a long and ugly history of comparing black people to primates.

“In the 19th century and well into the 20th, popular media from movies to fiction to political cartoons frequently portrayed blacks as more simian than human,” social psychologists Phillip Atiba Goff and Jennifer L. Eberhardt wrote in the Los Angeles Times. “It was an association that provided cover for slavery itself, as well as anti-black violence. Lynchings in the United States were often justified by relying on this dehumanizing association, and it surfaced in the Rodney King controversy in Los Angeles: LAPD Officer Laurence Powell had referred to a black couple as ‘something right out of “Gorillas in the Mist”‘ moments before he was involved in the King beating.

“Like nooses, the ‘N-word’ and white sheets, referring to blacks as apelike is among the most violent and hurtful legacies of our nation’s difficult racial past.”

Racist primate memes have surfaced repeatedly around the Obamas. Several years ago, the Awl catalogued them in a piece called “Primate in Chief: A Guide to Racist Obama Monkey Photoshops.”

Two-tenths of 1 percent of Clay County’s residents are African American, according to census data. More than three-quarters of the presidential votes cast in the county went to Trump.

GLENVILLE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES

The Free Press WV
GLENVILLE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
October 03, 2016
7:00 PM

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick with Council members Fisher, Wiant, Walters and Taylor present.  Councilman Huffman was absent.


Pledge of Allegiance


I. Call to Order


Public Comments

No Public


A. Approval of Minutes – September 07, 2016

The minutes from the September 07, 2016, meeting was reviewed.  No corrections were noted and minutes were placed on file for audit.


II. Reports


Financial

The book keeper was absent.

The financial summary was provided by Mayor Fitzpatrick.

We are currently at 26% of the fiscal year budget.

Revenue is at 32.8% and expenditures are at 24.80%.

Councilman Wiant made a motion to approve the financial summary as presented.

Councilman Fisher seconded the motion.  Motion passed.


Street Report

Mayor Fitzpatrick noted that the City has a new FCI camp worker and hope they will provide a second worker soon.


Police Report

Chief Huffman provided the police report to council.

He requested executive session to discuss the new policy draft.


Glenville Utility

Mayor Fitzpatrick attended the September 27th meeting.

There was a ¾ inch service line water leak on Hunter Street and in front of Miller Supply that was repaired. 

A backup pump needs to be purchased for the town hill booster station. 

They had their annual Inspection by the State Health Dept. and everything was satisfactory. 

There will be a final public hearing on the Source Water Protection Plan on October 12 at 3:00 PM at the Fire Department. 

Pumps are again operational on the sewer side.

Problems were corrected at the Lift station.


Recorder

Nothing to report.


Mayor Comments


-  Marthas and Marys Blessing Box

Mayor checked with our insurance regarding city liability and was determined there is no liability to the city.


- Trick or Treat 31st of October – 6:00-8:00 PM

Councilman Walters made a motion to hold trick or treat on Monday, October 31, from 6:00-8:00 pm.

Councilwoman Taylor seconded the motion.  Motion passed.


- Council thoughts on vacant lots River Street Property

Mayor had asked council to consider possible uses for the River Street property donated to the city.

The house is in the process of being torn down on the property. 

Mayor has suggested maybe a community garden. 

Councilman Walters suggested it could be divided into individual plots. 

Mayor asked council to continue thinking about this idea.


- Fall Flowers

A local group has available funds to put fall flowers in flower boxes located around town.


- Mayor Meetings (October 13 & 14 Lewisburg and October 26th Bridgeport)

Mayor will attend meetings on October 13 &14 in Lewisburg, October 26 in Bridgeport, and October 19 in Flatwoods. 

He requested approval for reimbursement for mileage and room and board. 

Councilman Fisher made a motion to approve travel reimbursement for mayor to attend these meetings. 

Councilman Walters seconded the motion. 

Motion passed.


- October 06 Breast Cancer Awareness at City Square (Bras Across The Park)

October 6th is Breast Cancer Awareness at City Square and is coordinated through FRN. 


- Proclamation Christian Heritage Week – from Governor’s office

Christian Heritage Week is set for November 20-26, 2016.

Mayor read the proclamation from the Governor’s office and signed on October 03, 2016.


III. Unfinished Business


Councilman Walters asked about GSC Homecoming parade which is scheduled for October 22 at 10:00 AM. 

Streets will be blocked beginning at 9:00 AM. 

Mayor Fitzpatrick noted that GSC has invited the community to participate in the parade.


IV. New Business

None

Councilman Wiant made a motion for Council to move into executive session at 7:07 PM.  Councilman Fisher seconded the motion.  Motion passed

Councilman Wiant made a motion for council to move out of executive session at 7:13 PM.  Councilwoman Taylor seconded the motion.  Motion passed.

No Action was taken during executive session.


V. Other Business to come before Council

None


VI. Next City Council Meeting

The next council meeting will be November 07, 2016, at 7:00 PM.


VII. Adjourn

Meeting adjourned at 7:14 PM.

Concurrent Black Bear Hunting Opportunities During Deer Season

The Free Press WV

Deer hunters are reminded that a concurrent bear season without dogs will occur from November 21 through December 03,  2016, in 33 West Virginia counties.

Seventeen counties in the eastern mountains will be open to concurrent deer and bear hunting on private and public land. Hunters in those counties are required to have applied for and received a limited bear firearms season permit to participate, or be a resident landowner hunting on their own property.

The counties open to limited bear hunting on private and public land during the buck-gun season include Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay,  Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Harrison, Lincoln, Pendleton, Pocahontas,  Randolph, Tucker, Upshur, Webster and Wirt.

Hunters do not need a limited bear firearms season permit to participate in the following 16 counties: Berkeley, Boone, Fayette,  Hampshire, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Mercer, Monongalia, Monroe, Morgan,  Nicholas, Preston, Raleigh, Summers and Taylor.

“Counties that will be open for bear hunting during the buck-gun season are above their management objective and need additional bears to be harvested to achieve their goal,” said Colin Carpenter, Black Bear Project Leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). “Timing is critical when setting bear hunting seasons, and the concurrent buck-gun bear season will occur when the most hunters are in the woods.”

Mast conditions in 2016 vary widely based on location,  according to WVDNR’s Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook. In many areas of the state, abundant red oak group mast will have bears dispersed across the landscape. However, in areas where acorns are scarce, bears will be concentrated where soft mast species like black cherry and autumn olive are abundant.

“These special seasons offer a unique opportunity for hunters who may have never bear hunted before to harvest a bear, and we hope that they take advantage of this season structure,” said Carpenter.

Bear hunting opportunities continue after the buck gun season.  All or parts of 24 counties will be open for bear hunting with or without hounds December 5-31, 2016. In addition, all or parts of 37 counties will be open for bear hunting without hounds December 05-31, 2016. 

Successful hunters are required to submit a first premolar tooth from each harvested bear. Information on how to collect and submit a black bear first premolar tooth can be found on page 37 of the 2016- 2017 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

Hunters who harvest a female black bear are encouraged to save the reproductive tract or all the entrails. Hunters with reproductive tracts or entrails should keep them cool or freeze them and contact their nearest WVDNR district wildlife office or the Elkins Operations Center to arrange drop-off. 

Hunters can get a bear tooth envelope and information on what a complete reproductive tract consists of at all WVDNR district offices or the Elkins Operations Center. Data obtained from tooth samples and reproductive tracts are used for black bear population monitoring.

Hunters are reminded to purchase a bear damage stamp as well as an appropriate hunting license. Details concerning bear hunting seasons can be found on pages 35-39 of the 2016-2017 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

Delegate Brent Boggs: Thank You

The Free Press WV

DOH Seeking Information to Establish Statewide Fallen Worker Memorial for Highway Safety

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Division of Highways is seeking assistance from the public in order to establish a statewide fallen worker memorial for highway safety to honor those who lost their lives while performing their jobs.

The first step toward success of this project is to collect the names of those fallen workers. WVDOH staff have been able to track work zone fatalities through the mid 1970’s and continue to research job related deaths at the state archives. The DOH is now reaching out to the public for any information that could help us honor the fallen.

For inclusion on the memorial, the deceased must have been an active full-time or part-time employee of the Division of Highways, Department of Highways or the State Road Commission.  The death must have been from a work-related accident or injury. The names of the honorees, once permission is granted by their families, will be enshrined on the memorial. This will include employees who died from1921 to the present.  Room will be left for names to be added, although we continue to campaign for no more work-related deaths on West Virginia roadways.  The memorial’s design will be selected from entries submitted by WVDOH employees.

This effort has been spearheaded by WVDOH District 3 staff. After a fellow employee, Randy Bland, was fatally struck while performing his job in a work zone, a committee gathered to look at ways to honor Randy’s sacrifice. In doing so, they found that there is nothing, statewide, that honors the many men and women who have made the same sacrifice.  The committee arrived at the idea to construct a memorial that honors all state highway transportation workers who died performing their jobs.  The memorial will be a placed at the Williamstown I-77 Welcome Center where family members, friends and colleagues can reflect on their loss and where the traveling public can become more aware of why safety is of the upmost importance by reflecting on the sacrifices made by those honored.

Please assist our efforts by gathering and forwarding names, a brief synopsis of their accidental death, and any available family contact information for any workers meeting the criteria. Information can be sent by email to or by mail:   

Candice Caviness
DOH District Three
624 Depot Street
Parkersburg, West Virginia 26101-5127

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  After ‘ape’ controversy, Clay council accepts mayor’s resignation

After uproar over a local official’s Facebook post that compared first Lady Michelle Obama to an ape, Clay Town Council came to order, approved minutes from the last meeting, agreed to pay the town’s bills, accepted the mayor’s resignation, apologized and adjourned.

The entire process lasted less than 15 minutes but occurred in a crowded room with state and national journalists as well as concerned onlookers from other communities.

Council members found themselves in this position after Mayor Beverly Whaling chimed in on another local official’s Facebook post celebrating the victory of Donald Trump as president.

That post, by Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor, read: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”

Mayor Whaling responded with a comment: “Just made my day Pam.”

The post began to circulate over the weekend and then went viral — with coverage by national and international media outlets such as The Associated Press, The Washington Post and the BBC. An online petition asking for the resignation of Taylor and Whaling generated thousands of signatures. Their names in the form of hashtags were circulating on Twitter.

Taylor was removed from her job before the end of the day Monday.

Whaling submitted a one line resignation letter on Tuesday. The council meeting had already been scheduled but because of the fuss it was faster than usual. Many of the usual agenda items — like “water plant project” and “rugs for town hall” — were skipped.


►  2% budget cut Announced for WV government agencies

There will be an across-the-board mid-year budget cut of 2 percent for most state government agencies, according to a Tuesday announcement made by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

The governor said the reduction is due to the state’s General Revenue Fund falling behind by more than $87 million since July.

The cuts will include a nearly $11 million reduction to the School Aid Formula and a $25 million reduction to Medicaid, according to the announcement.

“This was a tough decision that stemmed from sustained budgetary challenges, but we must continue acting responsibly and taking the necessary steps to keep our state strong,” Tomblin said in a statement.

“While the cuts we’re enacting will not be easy, we must ensure a balanced budget, long-term financial stability for West Virginia, and smart decisions that allow for continuity of essential services for West Virginians.”

In addition, Tomblin announced the state hiring freeze will continue and nonessential travel for state employees remains restricted.

State Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer, 06) said in a statement, “While this mid-year budget cut is unfortunate, it certainly should not come as a surprise. Our state is deeply entrenched in perhaps the worst fiscal crisis in a generation, and these kinds of difficult decisions are necessary to ease some of the burden. I applaud Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for proactively addressing this issue head-on, and I am confident that passing a sound, strong budget will be a top priority for next year’s Legislative leadership.”

In a separate statement, House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 35) said:

“The Governor’s cuts in spending underscore the need to streamline state government and rein in spending, while also promoting policies that foster economic growth.”

“With this goal in mind, legislative leaders in September created the bipartisan Joint Committee on Government Efficiency, Transparency and Accountability (or GATE Committee) to review the entire structure of state government to find ways to consolidate, streamline or make wholesale reforms in order to make government more efficient and cut costs.

“Our GATE Committee is already well into its work to identify ways to make government more efficient and bring spending more in line with realistic revenue projections,” Armstead said. “We plan to consider the committee’s recommendations as we head into the upcoming legislative session.”


►  Bombardier Schedules West Virginia Announcement

Bombardier Aerospace and West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin have scheduled an announcement Tuesday at the West Virginia Air Center in Bridgeport.

The company based in Montreal manufactures jets and refurbishes commercial jetliners for U.S. air carriers.

It has an aftermarket service center in Bridgeport.

According to the company, its aftermarket network supports more than 2,450 business jets and approximately 1,330 commercial aircraft.


►  Official on Leave After Racist Obama Post

A local West Virginia official said she has been placed on leave after she made a racist post on Facebook about first lady Michelle Obama.

Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Republican Donald Trump’s election as president, saying: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.“

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.“

Taylor told WCHS-TV on Monday night that she was put on leave.

Clay’s town council planned to discuss the issue at a previously scheduled meeting Tuesday evening.

The post, first reported by WSAZ-TV, has caused a backlash and prompted calls for Taylor and Mayor Whaling to be fired. The post was shared hundreds of times on social media before it was deleted. The Facebook pages of Taylor and Whaling couldn’t be found Monday.

The nonprofit Clay County Development Corp. provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County. It is funded through state and federal grants and local fees. It is not affiliated with the town of Clay, which is about 50 miles east of Charleston.

Owens Brown, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s West Virginia chapter, is among those calling for the removal of both women.

“I feel so it’s unfortunate that people still have these racist undertones,“ Brown said. “Unfortunately, this is a reality that we are dealing with in America today. There’s no place for these types of attitudes in our state.“

African-Americans make up about 4 percent of West Virginia’s 1.8 million residents, according to the U.S. Census.

About 77 percent of Clay County residents supported Trump in the November 8 election. In 2012, President Barack Obama received 31 percent of the county vote when Republican Mitt Romney easily carried the state.

Last week in Kentucky, Republican Dan Johnson defeated incumbent Democrat Linda Belcher in Bullitt County in a race for the state House of Representatives despite a series of Facebook posts that depicted President Barack Obama and his wife as monkeys. Republican officials, including likely new House Speaker Jeff Hoover, had called on Johnson to drop out of the race. But Hoover declared last week that Johnson would be “welcome in our caucus.“


►  Football Field Press Box Set on Fire, Vandalized

Authorities are investigating after a press box and maintenance building at a football field in Racine was set on fire.

The Boone County Sheriff’s Office believes that the person or people responsible for the fire also wrote the phrase “Trump Train” in paint on the field.

Local news organizations report that Sunday’s fire destroyed equipment used by the Seth Midget Football League. Officials from the youth football league say that an estimated $15,000 worth of equipment was destroyed.

League president Jeremy Johnson says organizers had collected the equipment over a three-year period. The items included football helmets, padded football pants and field equipment.

Anyone with information is asked to contact authorities.


►  Public Hearing Set on Draft Source Water Protection Plan

A public hearing is being held this month on a draft source water protection plan for the West Virginia American Water Kanawha Valley System.

The plan is intended to identify ways to minimize potential threats to source water and prepare for spills or other emergencies that could affect water service.

The public hearing will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park, Building 2000, Room 1220 in South Charleston.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will consider public comments as it reviews the draft plan. Comments may be submitted during the hearing or in writing by December 05 by mail, fax or email.

For more information, call 304.356.4270.


►  Clinic Participating in Lung Cancer Program

A Kanawha County clinic is participating in a pilot program to screen patients for lung cancer.

The American Cancer Society is overseeing the three-year project with support from a $1.25 million grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care initiative.

Cabin Creek Health Systems will receive $75,000 a year for three years to help develop the program.

State health statistics indicate West Virginia has one of the highest lung cancer rates in the country.

Shauna Shafer of the American Cancer Society says the funding will help Cabin Creek build electronic records, identify and contact patients who qualify for the screening and navigate patients to treatment, among other things.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • Just wait until the figures from this year come out. Hate crimes against Muslims rose 67 percent in 2015, according to FBI statistics just released. It was the largest surge since the immediate wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. The total last year was 257 incidents, up from 154 incidents in 2014. Hate crimes overall rose 7 percent. Most of the reported incidents of hate crimes generally were considered crimes against persons rather than property. Nearly 15,000 law enforcement agencies participated in the program to identify and track these crimes. Politico

  • The Fourth Amendment under siege. How President Trump and his allies could abuse Big Data and the surveillance state. TechCrunch

  • And how the Supreme Court should help stop him. New York Review of Books

  • “He thinks all kinds of crazy things about prosecutions.” Even torture law architect John Yoo is worried about what a Donald Trump Justice Department is capable of. Foreign Policy

  • So will Trump fire Comey? NPR
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