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Today Is Drug Take Back Day with Nearly 100 Drop Off Sites in WV

The Free Press WV

Law enforcement agencies across West Virginia will be at nearly 100 locations this Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agencies’ National Drug Take Back Day.

Residents are encouraged to bring any unwanted, expired or unused prescription drugs to the drop off sites. They will then be disposed by the DEA.

“They can drop off any type of medication as long as it’s not in a liquid form or in a syringe,” said David Gourley, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge in Charleston.

Leaving unused pill bottles in medicine cabinets have lead to dangerous situations nationwide resulting in death. Over the last year, 52,000 people died of drug overdoses, Gourley said.

“Of those — a lot of them started with people taking some type of abusive medication,” he said.

The medications could get into the wrong hands.

“It’s dangerous for those drugs to be left around where a child or someone else could take them accidentally or intentionally abuse them.”

Drug Take Back events take place throughout the state every six months, but many law enforcement agencies have drop off boxes at their detachments year-round.

“Folks don’t have to wait for this day like they used to. Now they can drop them off at any of the local police agencies and dispose of them any time they want to, so we don’t have to wait for this particular Take Back Day.”

To view a full list of drop off sites at a location near you, click HERE .

310 Graduates Prepare for Commencement Activities

The Free Press WV

On Saturday, May 06, the largest class in ten years will graduate from West Virginia Wesleyan College.  Nearly 310 students will participate in the Commencement ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. in the John D. Rockefeller IV Physical Education Building.

Courtenay Rattray ’86, permanent representative of Jamaica to the United Nations, will speak to students at Commencement as well as receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Following the ceremony, there will be a buffet in the French A. See Dining Center beginning at 12:30 p.m.  Tickets are required for both Commencement and the buffet.

Before Saturday’s affairs, Wesleyan will host several events to honor the 2017 graduates and also celebrate its alumni.

The Commencement week festivities will begin on Wednesday, May 03 with Gradfest, a picnic dinner and party for graduates of both the master’s and bachelor’s programs.  Hosted at the 88 Restaurant/Bicentennial Inn, the event is a ticket-only occasion for graduating students only.  Later that evening, the events continue with the MBA Graduation Celebration for graduates of the master’s in business administration program and their guests.  This event will begin at 7 p.m. at the residence of Dr. Susan Aloi ’80, director of the MBA program.

On Friday, May 05, the School of Nursing will hold their convocation ceremony and reception beginning at 1 p.m. in the Greek Alumni Room of the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts.  The School of Education will also host a reception at 2 p.m. in the Social Hall.  Beginning at 3 p.m., the Multicultural Program Senior Ceremony will occur in Wesley Chapel.

The Reverend Feliça Wooten Williams will speak at the Baccalaureate ceremony, which will begin at 5 p.m. in Wesley Chapel on Friday. Williams is an ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church (UMC) and pastor of Simpson Memorial UMC and St. Stephens UMC in Charleston.  She is also the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Virginia Conference of the UMC and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Wesleyan.  The service will be followed by a reception for graduates and guests at 6:15 p.m. in the French A. See Dining Center.  Tickets are required for the reception.

For more information or a complete schedule of events, please see the Commencement Schedule.

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV


The Free Press WV



The Free Press WV

The West Virginia International Film Festival returns to Charleston this week with a collection of films, shorts and documentaries from around the world, but also with local roots.

The spring festival officially kicks off Friday with West Virginia native Jon Matthews’ documentary “Opioid, Inc.” at the Underground Cinema at Taylor Books.

The festival will continue through Sunday, April 30.

Films will be shown at the Capitol Theater on Summers Street as well as at the new Underground Cinema.

Tickets to the films are $9 for adults and $5 for students. The WVIFF also offers a six-pack of tickets for $36.

For more information, call 304.395.6688 or visit the WVIFF online at wviff.org.

Here are the films that will be shown:


“Under Contract: Farmers and the Fine Print” (Documentary, U.S.) Unrated

“For the first time in a full-length documentary, contract farmers from across the American South and Southern India tell their stories and industry experts reveal how the corporate production model pits farmer against farmer.” (From IMDB)

“Toni Erdmann” (Comedy/Drama, Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Romania) Rated R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language and brief drug use

“A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard-working daughter by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO’s life coach.” (From IMDB)

 
“Tanna” (Drama/Romance, Australia) Unrated

“Set on a remote Pacific island, covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister’s loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new.” (From IMDB)

“The Salesman” (Drama/Thriller, Iran/France) Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements and a brief bloody image

“While both participating in a production of “Death of a Salesman,” a teacher’s wife is assaulted in her new home, which leaves him determined to find the perpetrator over his wife’s traumatized objections.” (From IMDB)


“Opioid, Inc.” (Short/Documentary, U.S.) Unrated

“Who fueled the pill mills? How did West Virginia become the nation’s leader in overdose deaths? Opioid Inc. explores the link between prescription drug distributors and the opioid epidemic.” (From West Virginia native Jon Matthews)

“My Life as a Zucchini” (Animation/Comedy, Switzerland/France) Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and suggestive material

“After losing his mother, a young boy is sent to a foster home with other orphans his age where he begins to learn the meaning of trust and true love.” (From IMDB)


“Meadow Bridge” (Drama/Comedy, U.S.) Unrated

“Meadow Bridge is a coming-of-age story that follows Darcy, a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in a small West Virginia town in the late 1990s. It’s a story about growing up on the edge of poverty and possibility — about trying to reach out into the bigger world, while wrestling with where you’re from.” (From IMDB)


“Julieta” (Drama/Romance, Spain) Rated R for some sexuality/nudity

“After a casual encounter, a brokenhearted woman decides to confront her life and the most important events about her stranded daughter.” (From IMDB)

“I Am Not Your Negro” (Documentary, France/U.S.) Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent images, thematic material, language and brief nudity

“In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, ‘Remember This House.’ The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and assassinations of three of his close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987, he left behind only 30 completed pages of this manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished.” (From IMDB)


“Death by a Thousand Cuts” (Documentary, U.S.) Unrated

“In ‘Death by a Thousand Cuts,’ the brutal murder of a Dominican park ranger becomes the metaphor for increasing tension between Haiti and the Dominican Republic over illicit charcoal exploitation and mass deforestation.” (From IMDB)


“Ann Braden: Southern Patriot” (Documentary, U.S.) Unrated

“‘Anne Braden: Southern Patriot (1924-2006)’ is a first person documentary about the extraordinary life of this American civil rights leader. Braden was hailed as a white southerner who was eloquent and prophetic by Martin Luther King Jr. in his 1963 ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.’ Ostracized as a red, she fought for an inclusive movement community and mentored three generations of social justice activists.” (From IMDB)


“American Fango” (Comedy/Drama/Romance, U.S./Italy)Unrated

“A coming-to-New-York love story about an Italian actor who comes to New York City from Rome, and through a series of misadventures becomes romantically involved with several beautiful women. Sidetracked in Los Angeles, he is ultimately transformed by the power of true love … and the realization that he is really a New Yorker at heart!” (From IMDB)



Film Festival Schedule

Friday, April 21

6:10 p.m. “Opioid Inc” With director Jon Matthews (Underground Cinema)

Saturday, April 22

5 p.m. “My Life As A Zucchini” (Underground Cinema)

Sunday, April 23

2:30 p.m. “Julieta” (Underground Cinema)

5 p.m. “Tanna” (Underground Cinema) (Alley entrance only)

Monday, April 24

6:45 p.m. “Toni Erdmann” (Capitol Theater)

7:30 p.m. “I Am Not Your Negro” (Underground Cinema)

Tuesday, April 25

6:45 p.m. “Toni Erdmann” (Underground Cinema)

7 p.m. “Under Contract: Farmers and the Fine Print” (Capitol Theater)

Wednesday, April 26

7 p.m. “Julieta” (Capitol Theater)

7:30 p.m. “Anne Braden: Southern Patriot” with co-director Mimi Pickering (Underground Cinema)

Thursday, April 27

7 p.m. “I Am Not Your Negro” (Capitol Theater)

7:30 p.m. “The Salesman” (Underground Cinema)

Friday, April 28

6 p.m. “American Fango” with screenwriter Brittany McComas (Capitol Theater)

8:45 p.m. “The Salesman” (Capitol Theater)

Saturday, April 29

4 p.m. “The Salesman” (Underground Cinema)

6:10 p.m. “Meadowbridge” with director Tijah Bumgarner (Capitol Theater)

8:55 p.m. “Tanna” (Capitol Theater)

Sunday, April 30

2:35 p.m. “I Am Not Your Negro” (Capitol Theater)

5:30 p.m. “Death By A Thousand Cuts” (Capitol Theater)

3 p.m. “My Life As A Zucchini” (Underground Cinema)

5 p.m. “American Fango” (Underground Cinema) (Alley entrance only)

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  State Targets Broadband Growth, Flood Protection

Newly signed laws are intended to extend broadband internet service to parts of West Virginia lacking it and help the state better prepare for major flooding.

The broadband measure says it’s a primary goal of the Legislature and governor to make every community and rural area accessible and establish equitable access to 21st-century technology.

It establishes a council to gather data on existing service, including internet speeds, and annually map them.

It also establishes an insurance fund to support expansion projects and authorizes pilot projects by municipalities and cooperatives to reach underserved areas.

For flood protection, a new state resiliency office will receive funds, coordinate efforts and update plans annually against floods like those last June that killed 23 people and damaged hundreds of homes, businesses and infrastructure.


►  West Virginia Supreme Court Stops Release of Cell Extraction Footage

The West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that a video of the cell extraction of an inmate at the Western Regional Jail cannot be made public, reversing a Kanawha County judge’s ruling.

The justices ruled Wednesday that footage of flash-bang grenades thrown inside inmate Shane Marcum’s cell reveals the facility’s design and operational procedures. The 20-page opinion authored by Justice Robin Davis says the release is thus prohibited under state law.

Marcum claims in a lawsuit against the West Virginia Regional Jail Authority that he received severe burns from the grenades. His attorney, Paul Stroebel, couldn’t be reached for comment after the decision.

In 2015, Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit ruled the video didn’t fall within exemptions to the state’s Freedom of Information Act.


►  New homes for Roane County flood victims

Three newly constructed, fully furnished houses were dedicated Friday afternoon in Roane County for three families that lost their homes in last June’s flood.

The Roane County Long Term Recovery Group with the West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster came together with more than a dozen other organizations to build the homes.

The houses were dedicated along Pigeon Road in Amma. They are going to a single man who has been living with his brother, a young single mother with two children and an elderly mother and daughter with disabilities.

Friday’s dedication was the result of a total team effort, Roane County Long Term Recovery Group chairman Joe Ross said.

“I am so grateful that we were able to help all of the families rebuild after experiencing such a tremendous loss,” Ross said.

Ross said the flood victims have a fresh start.

“We’re turning these homes over to these folks and they owe absolutely nothing on these homes. They are their homes,” Ross said.


►  Facing Budget Cut, Marshall Likely to Increase Fee

Marshall University’s Board of Governors has adopted four potential proposals in anticipation of funding cuts from the state.

Each of the plans accepted Wednesday will use tuition hikes to compensate for about 60 percent of the cuts and will reduce university spending to account for the other 40 percent.

The university faces a maximum cut of 12 percent, in which case tuition would be raised by 14 percent.

Board Chairman Wyatt Scaggs says the university would have no choice in that case and would likely lose students.

The university likely will raise tuition by 5 percent even if spared the cuts.

Marshall President Jerome Gilbert says tuition increases and cost-saving measure will be implemented to stem layoffs, but any cut over 10 percent will require layoffs.


►  WV Narrows Poll Restrictions on Electioneering

West Virginia has narrowed the restriction on political signs and other electioneering to 100 feet of a voting side.

The change has been approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jim Justice.

The measure, which applies to early voting as well as Election Day, reduces the required distance for campaign activity from 300 feet when polls are open.

The restriction doesn’t apply to private property.

Sponsors say the change reflects federal court rulings since West Virginia imposed the wider limit where candidates and advocates are prohibited from displaying signs, distributing literature, cards or handbills, or soliciting petitions on behalf of candidates or ballot questions.

Violations are misdemeanors with fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • No infrastructure in Trump tax plan:  “Proponents of using repatriation as a funding tool for infrastructure are worried about the message that the White House is sending with the tax plan. ‘This isn’t a good sign… It’s a punch in the gut,’ Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) said in a telephone interview. ‘I think [Trump] has basically told people today he doesn’t want to do infrastructure.‘”    The Hill


  • Did Human Ancestors Roam the Americas 130,000 Years Ago?    It’s not set in stone. California archaeologists claim new fossil evidence shows hominids were present more than 100,000 years earlier than previously thought, based on mastodon bones that appear to have been smashed by human tools. Other scientists dispute the find, noting the bones were unearthed by a backhoe, which could have crushed them. The long-held scientific consensus is that Native American ancestors arrived via a land bridge from Asia no more than 25,000 years ago - but there are still gaps in human knowledge about migration history.  Phys Org


  • All crime victims are equal. Some crime victims are more equal than others.   The Trump administration formally opened an office dedicated to helping victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. Immigration officials have established a hotline to help those victims, who will be given information on the history of undocumented immigrants accused of crime as well as the detention status of any such suspects.    BuzzFeed

  • A contentious federal effort that duplicates efforts already underway in some states.  The New York Times

  • No, there is no credible link between Chicago’s murder rate and illegal immigration.    The Washington Post


  • Every knock on the door. Every step outside.   For undocumented immigrants in the age of Trump even the smallest decisions are fraught with fear. Here is the story of a hardworking woman in California, “Juana,” who fled here in 2006 from the violence overtaking her native El Salvador. She knows she has some rights but doesn’t know precisely what they are. She’s even afraid to attend her union’s know-your-rights workshops for fear she’ll be identified, incriminated, and then detained and deported.  The American Prospect


  • James Comey is biased.   And like so many of the rest of us the FBI Director is blind to the consequences of his own preconceived notions.  Slate

In USA….

The Free Press WV


►  Congress doing bare minimum to keep government running

Congress is doing the bare minimum to keep the country running, readying a short-term spending bill to keep the lights on in government past Saturday, when Donald Trump will mark his 100th day in office.

The short-term legislation will carry through next week, giving lawmakers more time to complete negotiations on a $1 trillion government-wide spending bill for the remainder of the 2017 budget year. The government is currently operating under spending legislation that expires Friday at midnight, so action is required before then.

In addition to the failure to come up with a spending deal that could pass ahead of Trump’s 100-day mark, the House GOP looked unlikely to give Trump a victory on health care before then. A revised health care bill has won the support of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, holdouts on an earlier version that collapsed last month, but GOP leaders were struggling to round up votes from moderate-leaning Republicans.

“I don’t know if it’s bringing anyone over,“ said Representative Chris Smith, R-N.J., who said he had been lobbied by leadership but still opposed the legislation because it undoes an expansion of Medicaid under former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. “There’s much of Obamacare that has to be fixed. That part of it is critical,“ Smith said.

Trump himself unleashed a tweetstorm of criticism of Democrats involved in negotiations on the spending bill, accusing them of trying to close national parks and jeopardize the safety of U.S. troops.

“As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks - Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!“ Trump tweeted.

“Democrats jeopardizing the safety of our troops to bail out their donors from insurance companies. It is time to put #AmericaFirst,“ he wrote.

Democrats dismissed such accusations.

“We are never going to shut government down. In fact, we don’t even have the power to do so,“ said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Referring to Republicans she said: “They have the majority. They have the president. They have the Senate. They have the House. Any shutting down of government, the ball is in their court.“

Nonetheless, leaders in both parties projected certainty that a deal would ultimately be reached on the spending legislation, which covers all government agencies and is leftover business from last year.

“Talks on government funding legislation have continued throughout the week on a bipartisan, bicameral basis,“ said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., adding that the short-term extension will allow time for a final agreement to be completed and voted on next week.

The talks involving congressional Republicans and Democrats had progressed relatively smoothly after the White House earlier this week had backed off a threat to withhold payments that help lower-income Americans pay their medical bills and Trump dropped a demand for money for the border wall.

After the U.S.-Mexico wall issue and the Obamacare controversy were addressed, negotiators turned to a lengthy roster of unfinished issues, many of which involve extraneous policy “riders” on the environment and financial services regulations.

Negotiations continued throughout Thursday toward an agreement that might not be revealed until early next week.

“Now we’re making progress — we’re not there yet,“ said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “I think there’s been a real desire, I give Leader McConnell credit. I think he had a real desire to get this done. And unfortunately the president stood in the way for quite a long time. So that’s why we’re a little delayed.“

A new wrinkle emerged as Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, threatened to withhold votes for the short-term spending bill if Republicans tried to push for a vote this week on a revived health care repeal.

“If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well,“ Hoyer said in a statement.

However, such fast action on the part of House Republicans looked more improbable by the hour Thursday as GOP leaders failed to pick up new votes from moderates.

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., offered no timing for a health care vote, telling reporters on Thursday, “we want to go when we’re ready to go.“


►  Trump tax plan: Relief for his voters but lots of unknowns

Donald Trump’s plan to overhaul the nation’s tax code could provide significant tax cuts for the working-class voters who elected him, but the unknowns could end up hurting many of these core supporters of the president.

A look at how Trump’s tax plan could affect families at different income levels:


The working class

These are the people who have been left behind by an increasingly globalized economy.

Trump’s proposal, a one-page outline short on detail, says he would double the standard tax deduction, which could provide significant relief to working-class families. But Trump’s top economic adviser used some bad math to describe the proposal, raising questions.

Gary Cohn said the standard deduction for a married couple would be doubled to $24,000. But that’s not double. The standard deduction for a married couple is $12,700, so double would be $25,400.

Cohn said the deduction would create “a zero tax-rate for the first $24,000.“

That sounds great, but very few families making $24,000 a year pay federal income tax, said Roberton Williams, a fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. In fact, 44 percent of all U.S. households pay no federal income tax, though most pay other taxes.

Trump’s one-page sketch is silent on whether the tax code would still include the personal tax exemption, which allows most families to exempt $4,050 in income for each spouse and dependent child. In big families, this tax exemption can add up.

During the campaign, Trump released a tax proposal that would eliminate the personal exemption.

Also during the campaign, Trump proposed getting rid of the “head of household” filing status, which is mainly used by single parents. This filing status provides a lower tax rate and a higher standard deduction than filing as a single person.

Trump’s new plan is silent on this issue as well.


The middle class

The median household income in the U.S. is about $55,000, though people living in high-cost areas can make much more than that and still feel like they are in the middle class.

Doubling the standard deduction — or at least raising it to $24,000 — could provide significant tax relief to middle-income families. But whether they pay more or less depends largely on details that have yet to be released.

One of those pesky details is how Trump will structure the tax rates on individual income.

Trump has proposed reducing the number of tax rates from seven to three — 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. But the administration has yet to determine the income levels for people who would be put in each bracket.


High-income families

Trump’s plan has the potential to provide big tax cuts to high-income families — unless you live in a state with high state and local taxes.

Trump calls for eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was enacted in 1969 to prevent high-income people from paying no income tax. It has evolved over the years and now impacts about 5 million households, most of them making between $200,000 and $1 million a year.

In 2005, Trump himself paid $36.5 million in taxes, mostly because of the AMT. Without it, he would have paid just $5.5 million, according to a leaked copy of that year’s return.

On the flip side, Trump wants to eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes, a big tax break that benefits millions, especially people living in Democratic-controlled states with high local taxes such as New York, New Jersey and California.

Last year, more than 43 million families claimed the deduction, saving them nearly $70 billion.


The Superrich

These are the 1 percenters, people like Trump who make millions a year and are worth even more. Trump is proposing big tax cuts for the superrich, including repealing the estate tax.

The federal estate tax is widely misunderstood. The fact is it affects very few estates.

If your parents’ estate is worth less than $10.9 million, you don’t have to worry about this tax. This year, about 5,200 estates will pay the tax, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Trump also wants to reduce the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. But perhaps the biggest windfall for rich people could come from Trump’s plan to lower the top tax rate for small business owners from 39.6 percent to 15 percent.

Rich people, including Trump, tend to report a lot of business income, Williams said.

But the true effect of this tax cut will depend on how the Trump administration defines a small business owner. If the tax cut applies to all business income reported on individual tax returns, it would be a huge windfall for many rich families.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Trump will propose safeguards that would prevent rich people from taking advantage of the tax cut, but he provided no details on how that would work.


►  Trump tax plan stands to benefit the man in the White House

Among the likely winners in Donald Trump’s tax-cut plan would be a real estate developer turned reality TV star who now happens to occupy the White House.

The one-page proposal released Wednesday seems sure to benefit the president’s businesses. It would eliminate the estate tax, repeal the alternative minimum tax that affects some affluent people, deeply slash corporate rates and reduce investment taxes — all of which could in theory benefit a billionaire real estate magnate like Trump.

It’s a sensitive subject for a White House that is telling Americans its proposed cuts to individual and corporate tax rates would aid the middle class and fuel stronger economic growth.

When Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, was asked by reporters Thursday whether it was fair to inquire about the benefits that the tax cuts would provide for the president and his family, he sidestepped the question.

“I would guess that most Americans would applaud what the president is doing,“ Spicer said.

Democrats are using the possibility of presidential profits to bash the proposal. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, noted Thursday that the proposal would have lopped more than $30 million off Trump’s 2005 income taxes, based on a partial copy of Trump’s tax return for that year that was leaked months ago.

“His tax outline is a wish-list for billionaires, trickle-down all over again — and guess who it is trickling all over?“ Pelosi said.
It’s unclear just how much the tax overhaul would help Trump because the proposal still amounts to mainly a series of bullet points — and because the president has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns despite having promised to do so in the past.

The refusal to release his tax returns during the campaign broke decades-old precedent, and Trump “has no intention” of doing so now, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.

“We should see his tax returns,“ said Frank Clemente, the executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness in Washington. “We have no idea what deductions he’s taking; whether he’s still paying the alternative minimum tax.“

Steve Witkoff, a New York-based real estate developer and a friend of Trump, defended the proposed tax changes, arguing that they could foster an environment in which more Americans take the sort of financial risks that create jobs and feed prosperity.

Witkoff said Trump’s major goal was to drive a stronger economy, not enhance his own financial standing.

“I think this president ought to be commended for standing on the soap box and saying, ‘I don’t accept that we’re going to have mediocre growth,‘“ Witkoff said, adding that the president had “too much money to really care about benefiting himself.“

Here’s a breakdown of four major changes to the tax code that could possibly reduce the president’s taxes:


Estate tax

Under current tax rules, your heirs must pay 40 percent in taxes on any assets they inherit in excess of $5.49 million ($10.98 million for married couples). Trump says he is worth $10 billion or so. As a result, eliminating the inheritance tax could possibly produce an enormous windfall for his heirs.


Pass-throughs

Much of Trump’s income from his various businesses are taxed as “pass-through” corporations, a category that requires owners under current rules to pay individual tax rates as high as 39.6 percent. That would change under Trump’s proposed plan. Owners of “pass-throughs” would be taxed at the new, much lower corporate rate of 15 percent.

The administration says it would ensure that wealthier Americans wouldn’t exploit the lower pass-through rate, but it provided no details on how that would do so.

If the rules work in Trump’s favor, he could receive more than half off on the “pass through” portion of his tax bill.


AMT

The plan calls for the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which raises the federal tax bill of wealthy Americans like Trump who would otherwise capitalize on special tax breaks to pay far less. The benefit to Trump could run as high as tens of millions of dollars a year. According to recently leaked Trump documents from 2005 cited by Pelosi, Trump paid $36.5 million in federal taxes that year because of the AMT. Without it, he would have owed just $5.5 million.


Investment tax

One of the sources for funding in President Barack Obama’s health insurance law is a 3.8 percent net investment income tax that applies to capital gains and rental and royalty income, among other sources.

Trump would eliminate this tax in hopes of improving growth, but it would probably also reduce his tax bill.


►  Duo Punked Morning TV Show. Now They’re Being Sued

To a pair of pranksters who showed up on a Wisconsin morning-television program, they were just having a bit of harmless fun. To Gray Television, which owns the station they appeared on, Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher are guilty of fraud, copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit a wrongful act, and it’s now suing them for it, the Pioneer Press reports. What no one’s disputing: Pickett and Prueher’s November 29 appearance on the WEAU program Hello Wisconsin as “Chop & Steele,“ a phony strongman duo that court records show had convinced the station—via emails from a Mr. “Jerry Chubb” and a press release—to book them while they were in town on their “Give Thanks 4 Strengths” tour so they could educate viewers on how they’ve been “using their muscles to entertain and educate” on subjects such as bullying and unity.

Their “educational” display included karate-chopping twigs they’d found in the parking lot, lifting chocolate milk containers, and sparring with tennis rackets—what Gray calls “ridiculous bits” in its suit. Pickett and Prueher, who went to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and now run the comedy event Found Footage Festival, found out about the suit via a New York Post story, per Prueher. He seems surprised Gray didn’t get a chuckle out of it all, but he adds he and Pickett aren’t backing down. “We’re well within our rights doing what we did,“ he tells the Press, adding the station should’ve done its “due diligence.“ Deadspin notes WEAU wasn’t the only duped station: The pair apparently convinced at least six other shows to book them; they showed up for a handful, then canceled the rest because they were “stressed out.“


►  High Numbers of Humpback Whales Dying Off Atlantic Coast

Federal officials say humpback whales have been dying in unusually large numbers along the Atlantic Coast, the AP reports. According to the News Journal, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries declared it an “unusual mortality event,“ which is called when higher-than-normal numbers of marine mammals die for unknown reasons.

Marine Education, Research, and Rehabilitation Institute Executive Director Suzanne Thurman says a decomposing whale washed into shallow water in the Delaware Bay recently, but weather is hampering efforts to study it. Thurman says it apparently was a juvenile humpback. If confirmed, it would be the fourth stranded in Delaware waters in a year, an unusually high number. Four have stranded off Virginia and there was a stranding last fall off Long Island.


►  Dad Reveals Location of Son’s Body— 20 Years Later

The father of a boy who became the face of a Hawaii campaign for missing and abused children after his 1997 disappearance rode in a van with police and prosecutors last weekend, leading them to the site where he says he dumped his dead son’s remains. Peter Kema Sr., wearing a jail jumpsuit and shackles, agreed to the move as part of a plea deal reached earlier this month, Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth tells the AP. Kema pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for a 20-year sentence, on the condition that he reveal where the remains are. The site in the Big Island’s remote Puna district, to be searched at a later date, is in an area that police didn’t previously search or consider. Police will return to the site for a more detailed search before Kema is sentenced in June, Roth said.

Kema and his wife, Jaylin, have long been suspects in the disappearance of the 6-year-old known as “Peter Boy,“ but prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence to charge them until last year, when a grand jury indicted the couple on murder charges. Jaylin Kema pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter in the first official confirmation that the child was dead. In exchange for 10 years’ probation and a one-year jail sentence with credit for time served, she agreed to testify against her husband if he went to trial. She also agreed to facts prosecutors laid out in court about abuse suffered by the boy and her failure to get him medical treatment. Prosecutors believe the boy died from septic shock from not getting medical care for an arm injury.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►  U.S. admiral says N. Korea crisis is at worst point he’s seen

The senior U.S. Navy officer overseeing military operations in the Pacific said Thursday that the crisis with North Korea is at the worst point he’s ever seen, but he declined to compare the situation to the Cuban missile crisis decades ago.

“It’s real,“ Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Harris said he has no doubt that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un intends to fulfill his pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States. The admiral acknowledged there’s uncertainty within U.S. intelligence agencies over how far along North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are. But Harris said it’s not a matter of if but when.

“There is no doubt in my mind,“ Harris said.

The Trump administration has declared that all options, including a targeted military strike, are on the table to block North Korea from carrying out threats against the United States and its allies in the region. But a pre-emptive attack isn’t likely, U.S. officials have said, and the administration is pursuing a strategy of putting pressure on Pyongyang with assistance from China, North Korea’s main trading partner and the country’s economic lifeline.

With international support, the Trump administration said Thursday it wants to exert a “burst” of economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea that yields results within months to push the communist government to change course from developing nuclear weapons.

Susan Thornton, the acting top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, said there’s debate about whether Pyongyang is willing to give up its weapons programs. She said the U.S. wants “to test that hypothesis to the maximum extent we can” for a peaceful resolution.

But signaling that military action remains possible, Thornton told an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies — a Washington think tank that has advocated tougher U.S. policies on Iran and North Korea — that the administration treats North Korea as its primary security challenge and is serious that “all options are on the table.“

“We are not seeking regime change and our preference is to resolve this problem peacefully,“ Thornton said, “but we are not leaving anything off the table.“

After weeks of unusually blunt military threats, Donald Trump’s national security team briefed lawmakers Wednesday on North Korea’s advancing nuclear capabilities that served to tamp down talk of military action amid alarm over Pyongyang’s atomic and missile testing. A joint statement from the agency heads made no specific mention of military options, though it said the U.S. would defend itself and friends.

Harris told the committee that the financial sanctions imposed against the North Korean regime by the U.S. and other countries have done nothing to slow North Korea’s quest for weapons of mass destruction. He also said he’s been skeptical of China’s willingness to exert its influence over North Korea and convince Pyongyang to pull back from the brink. But Harris said he’s become “cautiously optimistic” following recent talks between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“It’s only been a month or so and it’s too early to tell,“ Harris said. “I wouldn’t bet my farm on it.“

Harris said North Korea’s pursuit of an atomic arsenal and the long-range missiles to deliver nuclear weapons comes at the expense of the North Korean people, who are isolated and forced to live with a lifeless economy.

“In confronting the North Korean threat, it is critical that the U.S. be guided by a strong sense of resolve both publicly and privately in order to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses, not his knees,“ Harris said.

Despite the depravity, Harris said it’s a “hollow hope” to think that North Koreans will rise up and topple Kim Jong Un. Harris said Kim Jong Un is revered and considered a “god king” by many North Koreans.

In a show of military might, the U.S. has sent a massive amount of American weaponry to the region. A group of American war ships led by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is in striking range of North Korea “if the president were to call on it,“ Harris told the committee. A U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense is being installed in South Korea.

Harris said he has adequate forces to “fight tonight” against North Korea if that were to become necessary. But the admiral also said he lacks all the attack submarines he needs and has no capable defense against the thousands of artillery pieces North Korea has assembled near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea. There are about 28,500 U.S. military personnel serving in South Korea.

“We do not have those kinds of weapons that can counter those rockets once they’re launched,“ Harris said in response to a question from the committee’s Republican chairman, Senator John McCain of Arizona.


►  Protesters attack Macedonian lawmakers after leadership vote

Scores of protesters, many wearing masks, broke through a police cordon and entered Macedonia’s parliament late Thursday, attacking lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker despite a months-long deadlock in talks to form a new government.

The protesters stormed parliament after the country’s opposition Social Democrats and parties representing Macedonia’s ethnic Albanian minority voted for a new speaker. Shouting and throwing chairs, the protesters attacked lawmakers, including opposition leader Zoran Zaev, who television footage showed bleeding from the forehead.

Television footage showed Zaev and other Social Democrat lawmakers surrounded by protesters waving national flags, shouting “traitors” and refusing to allow them to leave.

Macedonia has been without a government since December, when former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s conservative party won elections, but without enough votes to form a government.

Coalition talks broke down over ethnic Albanian demands that Albanian be recognized as an official second language. One-fourth of Macedonia’s population is ethnic Albanian.

Zaev has been seeking a mandate to form a government for months, after reaching an agreement with an ethnic Albanian party, the Democratic Union for Integration, to form a coalition government. However, President Gjorge Ivanov refused to hand him the mandate.

The Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, as the Balkan nation’s parliament is known, has been deadlocked for three weeks over electing a new speaker. Zaev had suggested earlier Thursday that one could be elected outside normal procedures, an idea immediately rejected by the conservative party as an attempted coup.

Zaev went ahead with the vote, and a majority in parliament elected Talat Xhaferi, a former defense minister and member of the Democratic Union for Integration.

Police said about 10 officers were injured during the melee and that reinforcements have been sent to assist those inside the parliament building.

DUI party spokesman Artan Grubi told Telma TV in a telephone interview that Zaev and three other lawmakers had been injured.
“This is a sad day for Macedonia,“ Grubi said.

The protesters who stormed parliament Thursday night were among a group of demonstrators who have been holding protest rallies nightly for the past two months in the streets of Skopje and other cities in the country over the political situation. Many are supporters of Gruevski.

European Union Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn condemned Thursday’s violence, saying in a tweet that “Violence has NO place in Parliament. Democracy must run its course.“

Sweden’s ambassador to Macedonia, Mats Staffansson, speaking on behalf of other European diplomats, reminded the country’s politicians of the need for dialogue and said “it is the responsibility of the police of this country to make sure that this kind of violence does not happen.“

Q&A

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    I’m having issues with my co-worker. I am maybe three or four years older than she is. This is her first job, but she has been here for two or three years. I have had many jobs previously, and I have been here for about a year now. She is a woman who has that “anything you can do I can do better’‘ attitude toward men and does the hardest jobs to prove herself.

For the past several months, she has been actively avoiding me. It started when she would come up to others near me and invite them to parties and just ignore that I was there – consistently excluding me from these talks. It’s not that bad to be excluded; we don’t have to be friends. But it’s more than that now. I can’t remember the last time she spoke to me, even when communication between us has been crucial for us to do our jobs. If I go to the break room, the smoking area or the bathroom at the same time she does, she will straight up book it out of there, not looking at me, not speaking to me. I have no idea why!

She calls our supervisor to complain about me. Now I am careful about what I say and how I say it. I am always nice to her and friendly. She has called managers, in front of me, to ask them to tell me to do a task that I clearly was about to do already. I’ve told her a few times that she could just radio me instead of going through the extra step of having the supervisor tell me. She says she will talk to me directly next time. An hour later, I get a call to the office, and the managers say she came in to complain about my “confronting’‘ her. It’s in no way a confrontation. I wish they would call us both up so we could talk it out in the office.

I don’t know why she is doing stuff like this to me. Every time I try to talk to her, she gives me a curt answer and takes off. Nothing gets done, and this trying to get me in trouble thing she’s on now is ridiculous. One of my supervisors gets it, and I know he knows this is happening. The other, I think, may be more on her side. I am going to leave this job soon for other reasons, but any advice on what I can do here? — What Did I Do?

The Free Press WV    Dear WDID: This woman can point her finger only so many times before the higher-ups notice that the rest of her fingers are pointed back at herself. You might speak to the human resources department and ask for some mediation and guidance. But if you’re leaving soon anyway, keep your head down and work hard. Ignore her antics. And give a professional but frank assessment of her in your exit interview.

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The Free Press WV    After a series of, let’s just say, not-so-nice relationships, my best friend and old college roomie set me up with a girl from his hometown named “Stephanie.“ I’ve never believed in love at first sight, but this was pretty close. We hit it off and have a ton in common. A year and a half later and we’re engaged. I’m excited to make Stephanie my wife.

We decided to go to a pre-marriage retreat through our church. During the retreat, the leaders ask you all sorts of questions about your plans for the future. We were compatible on all the major answers – except for one. “How many children would you like to have?“

I wrote that one or two would be nice; she wrote five! When we went back into our room to discuss, she explained how she came from a small family and always dreamed of having a bigger family. Well, I came from a large family and never felt that I got enough attention, so I have always wanted to have just one child – two at the most. Is this problem a deal breaker for our relationship? — Apprehensive

The Free Press WV    Dear Apprehensive: Only you can determine what your own personal deal breakers are, as they’re different for everyone. But if you’re at all willing to consider having more children, perhaps you and Stephanie could meet right in the middle and settle on having three. And if you can diplomatically reach such an important agreement, you and Stephanie have the stuff of a strong partnership. Compromise and marriage go together like a horse and carriage – and that’s a good thing. Two hearts and minds working together are better than one.

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The Free Press WV    I’m writing in response to the letter from “Feeling So Bad,“ who wrote about the death of her friend “Marie.“ She was angry that Marie’s husband, “Bill,“ didn’t provide updates about Marie’s health or inform neighbors of her death.

I am sorry that “Feeling So Bad” lost her friend, but from her letter, it appears that her only contact with Marie or Bill was by phone. I guess she never took over a casserole that Bill could have heated up for dinner. I guess she never stopped by and offered to stay with Marie so that Bill could get out of the house to run errands, take a walk, go to a movie – anything to give him some relief from the constant and often overwhelming needs of his wife. Do you know that the stress of being a caretaker often results in the death of the caretaker before the patient? (Bill apparently was able to survive his wife, but only by a year.) I feel sorry that “Feeling So Bad” was upset not to get a notice. I expect that Bill, as I did after my husband died of Alzheimer’s disease, slept for 24 hours. When my husband died, I didn’t care about getting out “notices” to so-called friends. I did call those I knew cared.

Sorry, but I’m not sympathetic. Instead of feeling bad, “Feeling So Bad” should feel guilty that she ignored the needs of her friend and hope that next time, she will find time to actually visit and provide assistance. — Voicing a Sad Experience

The Free Press WV    Dear Voicing: I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. And your letter is a good reminder that it’s important to reach out to friends and family who are grieving, even if we feel awkward or unsure of what to say. However, it seems you’re still holding on to a lot of anger toward people who weren’t there for you. For your own sake, I would encourage you to try to forgive them. Let go of that anger so you’re free to more fully embrace life.

Commencement Ceremony is May 06, 2017 at GSC

The Free Press WV

The 143rd Glenville State College Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 6 beginning at 10:00 a.m. in the college’s Waco Center.

The GSC class of 2017 will walk across the graduation stage to receive their degrees in a variety of programs including business, education, land resources, criminal justice, science, music, and more. The grads hail from throughout West Virginia and eight other states including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Retiring Glenville State College President Dr. Peter Barr will deliver the keynote address to graduates and guests. Barr, who has been at the helm of the nearly 145 year old institution since 2006, announced his intention to retire at the beginning of the current academic year.

In recognition of an ongoing tradition at Glenville State College, alumni who graduated fifty years ago have been invited back to campus to join the current graduates at the ceremony. Members of the class of 1967 will be recognized as ‘50 Year Graduates’ during the event.

Graduates are permitted to bring as many guests with them as they like and no tickets are required. The GSC Bookstore will have a satellite location open at the Waco Center with a selection of items for sale before and after the ceremony.

For more information about the Commencement Ceremony, visit www.glenville.edu and click on the Commencement banner or contact 304.462.4115.

DNR Advises — Leave Young Wildlife Alone

West Virginia’s fields and forests are full of new life this time of year, but the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging people to exercise extreme caution and keep a safe distance when young wildlife is encountered.

“Spring provides an excellent opportunity to see all of the fawns, cubs and other young wildlife our great state has to offer,” said Tyler Evans, a wildlife biologist stationed at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center. “But, it is especially important for the public to understand the need to avoid touching or disturbing these animals.”

People who pick up wildlife or get too close greatly increase the chance of harm to themselves and/or the animal. By handling these animals, humans leave behind a scent that may attract a predator. Additionally, handling wildlife has the potential to expose humans to a variety of wildlife-related diseases and parasites, such as rabies, ticks and lice.

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While wildlife viewing is an enjoyable and perfectly acceptable activity, DNR personnel recommend doing so from a safe distance and with the aid of binoculars. “This ensures the welfare of the animal, and more importantly, the welfare of the viewer,” Evans said.

Each year, DNR offices around the state receive numerous calls about fawns and other young wildlife being picked up by well-meaning humans. Many people will mistakenly assume a bedded fawn is abandoned when no mother is in sight, but that is rarely the case. Young animals are hidden while adults search for food, and this separation can last for several hours. “This separation should not be mistaken for abandonment,” said Evans.

Hiding the fawn while the doe searches for food is an important survival tactic. A fawn’s coloration, spotted pattern and lack of scent afford protection to this young animal and makes detection difficult for predators. Removing a young animal from its natural environment will almost certainly lead to the death of that animal.

As a final caution, DNR would like to remind wildlife enthusiasts that state law prohibits the possession of wild animals without a permit. The fine for illegal possession of a fawn, bear cub, baby raccoon or any other species taken or possessed during the closed season ranges from $20 to a maximum of $1,000 and may result in up to 100 days in jail.

“We want everyone to enjoy our state’s wildlife,“ said Evans. “However, for your safety and the safety of the animal, please remember that young wildlife should always be left undisturbed and given the opportunity to remain wild.”

Study Finds No Groundwater Contamination From Fracking, But Industry Not Off The Hook

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Research  from a team at Duke University finds ground water contamination from fracking of gas wells is minimal in West Virginia.

“We did not find any evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas development,” said Dr. Avner Vengosh who headed the eight year study.

The team conducted the comprehensive research across the country and included more than 100 water wells in Doddridge and Tyler Counties in West Virginia.   Speaking on MetroNews Talkline Wednesday, Vengosh explained they had a high degree of confidence in their findings.

“The fact we’re feeling confident it’s not coming from shale gas is that we conducted measurements at about 20 wells prior to any installation of shale gas wells,” he explained. “So we have really good baseline of information and we conducted really extensive analysis.”

The finds seem to back up the standard industry claim fracking posed no threat to well water contamination.  However, many still have the problem of methane or saline in their water wells.  Vengosh said they were able to come up with an explanation.

“One of our findings is naturally occurring and saline ground water is pretty prevalent in this area,” he said. “From the point  of view of a homeowner, you don’t care if it’s coming from fracking or naturally occurring, you have a problem with your well.”

But the same research which seemed to exonerate the industry’s use of fracking in natural gas production didn’t leave them blameless.   Management of fracking waste is identified in the same study as a serious problem and a repeated source of surface water contamination.

“We found there have been several spills causing surface water contamination,” he said. “We used this same assembly of chemical forensic tools to confirm those spills are indeed coming from frack water.”

Dr. Vengosh said it’s not uncommon for the industry to deny the spills were the source of contamination and often blamed it on the region’s long history of mining or conventional gas development.  However, the Duke survey was able to make the case without a question the spills are critical.

“The tools clearly showed several of the spills discovered in recent years are indeed from fracking wells and not from the legacy of previous activity,”  he explained.

The survey revealed the problems at all levels of the process.  Several spills happened at the well pad while others were from waste stored at injection well sites.

“Management of the waste water is the weakest part of shale gas development in the area,” Vengosh said. “Once the wastewater comes out managing them correctly is really a major challenge.  Even a small volume of that leaking into the environment could cause a huge impact.”

Hometowns Rising To Win Health Care For All

The Free Press WV

Back in January, a victory on health care seemed a long way away. Today, we’re still in a big fight to protect the health care that we need and that everyone deserves.

It’s not just the Affordable Care Act that they’re going after. The right wing is going after Medicaid, Medicare, the Indian Health Service, veterans’ health services, and more.

In March, we stopped the first vote on repealing our health care. It was a huge victory. Because of you and your sharp organizing, we lit a wildfire of resistance. We spoke up in districts where no one expected people to fight for health care for all.

In February, during the congressional recess, we did 89 actions, 75 percent of them in Republican districts. Together, we drove a wedge right through the Republicans and deepened the division in the party, making the March vote impossible for them.

Why was that important? It saved health care for 24 million people. It discredited Trump and his agenda. It built our power and decreased theirs.

All of that lays the foundation for us to defeat the broader agenda of tax giveaways to billionaires, budget cuts to health care and Social Security – even going after Meals on Wheels.

But one of the pieces of good news is that we have won the battle of big ideas on health care. People all across this country believe that health care is a basic human right. Millions of people, many of whom had never been active before, have hit the streets to defend health care as a human right.

This is an uprising that is happening in communities that are blue, purple and red.

But President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are still at it. They will try again and again to pass this really bad bill.

Are we going to let them? No!

When we defeat the next vote, we’re not done. They’re going to come after our health care, our food, veterans services and our housing with a terrible budget. They’re want to cut all that to pay for tax giveaways to billionaires, corporations and the one percent.

Are we going to let them? No!

We are deeply committed to this fight because we have to be. Taking away our health care has a ripple effect across our communities. It is life and death for some of our family members, friends and neighbors. It will mean that health care bills will pile up even higher and impoverish us.

Lack of funding will mean cuts to hospitals and clinics. If they get their way, it will even mean cuts to health care for veterans. These cuts will pull money out of communities, hurt small businesses and devastate our home towns.

We are here today because many in Congress canceled town halls, turned their backs on to us and didn’t listen to what we had to say.

Today we are welcoming hometown leaders who are organizing in Republican districts. They come from small and mid-sized towns that will be deeply impacted by the proposed budget cuts. We are here to listen to their stories about the devastating impact that “Trump Care” would have on their families and hometowns and to identify next steps for all of us in the fight back.

Together, you and I, and millions across the United States, will continue to raise up this issue and make it central in the upcoming 2018 elections.

Our strategy is to hold strong where we are, show up in unexpected places and build new alliances in hometowns across this country. We know this means more organizing. This means stretching ourselves.

We are asking everyone to make four commitments.

●  Rise up by building our team, by reaching out to five friends and family members to have kitchen-table conversations highlighting why this fight is important to you and your hometown. If we each reach five people, we will bring thousands and thousands of new people into the fight.

●  Rise up during the May recess by organizing 50 “hometown actions” to highlight the impact of proposed budget cuts on our families and communities, and the ripple effect those cuts will have on hospitals, small businesses and schools.

●  Rise up to take the profit out of our health care system, by holding insurance and drug companies accountable and build the pathway to Medicare for all.

●  Rise up to make health care a pivotal issue in the 2018 elections and move us toward our goal of health care for all.

Are you with us?

~~  LeeAnn Hall ~~

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

WHO FACES INTENSIFYING INVESTIGATIONS

The Pentagon watchdog has joined lawmakers in probing the legality of payments to Donald Trump’s ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn, from foreign sources, including a Russian state-sponsored TV network.


HOW TRUMP PLANS TO OVERHAUL TAXES

The plan could provide significant relief to the working-class voters who elected him, but the unknowns could end up hurting many of the president’s core supporters.


TRUMP’S BUMPY CEO PRESIDENCY

The same skills that helped Trump in the executive suite have hurt him in the Oval Office, management experts say.


TILLERSON SAYS CHINA ASKED NORTH KOREA TO STOP NUCLEAR TESTS

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that China has threatened to impose sanctions on North Korea if it conducts further nuclear tests.


UNITED SETTLES WITH PASSENGER

The passenger who was dragged off a United flight after he refused to give up his seat to airline employees has settled with the airline for an undisclosed sum, an apparent attempt by the company to put the fiasco behind it as quickly as possible.


ARKANSAS AWAITS WORD FROM SUPREME COURT ON EXECUTION

The last inmate set to die under Arkansas’ compressed execution timetable is looking to state and federal courts in final bids to save his life.


BERKELEY PROTESTS ARE PEACEFUL

Hundreds gather peacefully for a rally at a park in Berkeley - home of the free speech movement - to protest a canceled appearance by conservative commentator Ann Coulter.


WHERE PROTESTERS ARE STORMING PARLIAMENT

Demonstrators in Macedonia, many wearing masks, broke through a police cordon and entered Parliament, attacking lawmakers to protest the election of a new speaker.


WHAT TEENS DO WHEN THEY TIRE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

They take a break, a new poll finds. Reasons include social media getting in the way or work or school, or teens getting tired of “the conflict and drama.“


NFL DRAFT STARTS AS EXPECTED

No surprises at the top of the NFL draft: Roger Goodell got booed, then Myles Garrett was picked first overall by the Cleveland Browns.

The Free Press WV

Students, faculty, and staff in the Glenville State College Department of Language and Literature are celebrating the recent completion of the 2017 Trillium with the 14th Annual Trillium Reading to be held on Friday, April 28 at 4:00 p.m. in the Mollohan Campus Community Center Multipurpose Room (315A).

The reading, which will give the writers, poets, and artists a chance to bring their works to life in a spoken-word format, also will include an open microphone session to allow members of the audience to present poems, songs, or other literary works. The event is free and open to the public.

The Trillium, Glenville State College’s student literary magazine since 1979, contains poetry, fiction, photographs, and drawings from GSC students, faculty, staff, and the general public.

Free copies of the 2017 Trillium will be available at the reading, in the Department of Language and Literature located in the Heflin Administration Building, and other various locations around campus.

For more information about the Trillium reading, contact faculty advisor Dr. Jonathan Minton at or 304.462.6322.

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Planning is underway for the 19th Annual Glenville State College Department of Land Resources Golf Tournament to be held on Friday, April 28 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Proceeds from the event, which will take place at the Bel Meadow Golf Club in Clarksburg, West Virginia, will again be used to enhance student learning within GSC’s Natural Resource Management programs.

Funds received from the golf tournament will help provide extra tools and equipment for students studying environmental, forestry, land surveying, land management, and other natural resource management programs at GSC.

Multiple prizes are available, including two hole-in-one prizes of $10,000 cash and a STIHL Homeowner’s Package (package consists of a MS170 Chainsaw with 16-inch bar, BG 86 Handheld Blower, and FS70R Trimmer) and a closest second shot prize of a STIHL MS251 Chainsaw. The top three teams will receive cash awards and trophies including $400 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Prizes also will be awarded for Closest to Pin, Log Driver Champion, Longest Putt, and Longest Drive.

Participants can enter the scramble golf outing for an entry fee of $80 per person or $320 per team of four. The entry fee includes green fees, cart rental, and lunch. Organizations and individuals are also welcome to sponsor a hole, starting at $100. Sponsors will be recognized in a GSC Department of Land Resources newsletter and will have the name of the person or organization displayed during the event. Checks can be made payable to GSC Land Resources Fundraiser and sent to Glenville State College Department of Land Resources, 200 High Street, Glenville, WV 26351.

For more information and to register, contact the Land Resources Department at 304.462.6370.

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Check Out Events & Announcements for More


Amazon has launched a new Echo device that helps you decide what to wear

It’s called the Echo Look.


Taxi app Gett has acquired rival Juno for $200 million to help it compete with companies like Uber and Lyft

Juno is based in New York City.


Twitter’s revenue declined for the first time last quarter

However, it still managed to beat expectations across the board.


More than $3 billion has now been pledged to projects on Kickstarter

The company will celebrate its eighth birthday on Friday.


Samsung shrugged off the Galaxy Note 7 debacle and a corruption scandal to post its best quarterly profit in three years

Its January-March operating profit was 9.9 trillion won ($8.75 billion).


A mysterious pair of Google headphones have shown up in FCC filings

The headphones look pretty basic: over-the-ear cans with Bluetooth and an optional wired connection.


Spotify acquired blockchain startup Mediachain

The value of the deal was not disclosed.


Berlin has rejected Google’s new “Campus” building

Residents in Kreuzberg say the startup hub will be too loud, while the council is concerned about how high Google wants to make the building.


Billionaire venture capitalist Chris Sacca is retiring from startup investing

He’s also leaving the “Shark Tank” show.


Marc Benioff took a 60% cut to his $33 million pay package to appease Sales-force investors

Salesforce is also going to stop paying for Benioff’s personal security detail in the new fiscal year.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  State police investigating allegations of sexually explicit photos involving teacher

State police are investigating sexually explicit photos being shared among students at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, a Thursday news release from the agency said.

The Upshur County Prosecutor’s Office referred the case to troopers Wednesday.

According to the news release, “Allegedly, the photos being shared were of a teacher at the school.”


►  Capito sees “really good things” in Trump tax reform blueprint

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is “intrigued” by the Trump Administration’s tax reform blueprint released this week, one that White House officials have indicated they’d like to see finalized before the end of 2017.

“I think it goes to a lot of what, I think, are big time weaknesses in the tax code and things that we’ve been talking about for 16 years,” Capito said during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

“There’s a lot of really good things in here that could stimulate and would stimulate growth and we’re not going to have higher wages and broader employment until we have the certainty of our tax code, corporately and individually.”

In terms of effects on individuals, the outline proposes reducing the existing seven tax brackets to three at 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent; doubling the existing standard deduction and providing tax relief for families with child and dependent care expenses.

Currently, the ceiling for individual tax rates is set at 39.6 percent. Individuals can deduct $6,350 from their taxable income now, while married couples can deduct $12,700.

The tax reform outline calls for simplification of the tax code by eliminating targeted tax breaks that benefit wealthier taxpayers; protects the popular home ownership and charitable gift tax deductions; repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax; ends the death tax and pulls a 3.8 percent additional capital gains tax on small businesses and investment income implemented under former President Barack Obama to fund the Affordable Care Act.

For businesses, the Trump Administration is proposing taking corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 15 percent; utilizing a territorial tax system; implementing a one-time tax on trillions held overseas and eliminates tax breaks for special interests.

Few other details about the outline were immediately available.

Still, Capito saw reasons to be optimistic.

“I think the complexity in the tax code is enough to put everybody’s hair on fire, so the simplification that he gets to in this tax bill by moving to three rates, but also by eliminating a lot of deductions and loopholes is going to be welcomed by individual taxpayers,” said Capito.

In May, Trump Administration will be seeking input on the outline from stakeholders as part of overall work toward potential passage by both U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.


►  Teacher, football coach arrested on drug charges

A teacher and football coach at Valley High School in Fayette County was arrested on drug charges Wednesday, Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley said.

It’s alleged Larry Macon McCommack, 38, of Boomer, sold drugs four times to an undercover informant working for the Central West Virginia Drug Task Force.

None of the buys were made at the school in Smithers, Fridley said.

McCommack was taken into custody without incident Wednesday afternoon. He was released after posting $50,000 bond.


►  Governor signs ‘Second Chance for Employment Act’

Governor Jim Justice has signed the West Virginia Second Chance for Employment Act, meant to help non-violent felons improve their job opportunities.

The bill passed the House of Delegates the evening of the 59th day of the 60-day legislative session and then needed to have the Senate concur with changes that had been made. That happened within the final hour of the legislative session.

The bill originally would have allowed non-violent offenders to petition the court to have their felonies expunged.

The House amended the bill to allow non-violent felons to petition to have their sentences reduced to misdemeanors. The idea was that employers wouldn’t immediately blow them off, but could see the full record in a background check.

Versions of the bill have been under consideration by the Legislature the past few years. Last year, the bill unanimously passed the Senate but died in the House.


►  Justice strikes down Tebow bill - Measure would have allow non-public schoolkids to play sports in public schools

Governor Jim Justice vetoed a bill that would have allowed home-schooled students to play sports at public schools in West Virginia.

The veto was posted Thursday on the legislature’s website without an accompanying message, though one was expected.

The original version of the HB 2196 only provided a path for home-schooled students to participate in public school athletics and extracurricular activities, but the Senate amended it to include kids from private or religious schools that don’t sponsor sports. That’s the version Justice considered and rejected.

The bill required all homeschooled and private school crossover athletes to meet academic progress standards, along with abiding by all West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission regulations for traditional students — including paying fees that are charged by some schools. The students could only play sports at a public school within their district.

The SSAC opposed to the bill.

“We just feel like it is going to create an opportunity for people to game the system,” SSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan told MetroNews.

Justice coaches girls and boys basketball at Greenbrier East High School.

The so-called “Tim Tebow Act” is named after the former Heisman Trophy winner, who was home-schooled in Jacksonville, Fla., but won the state’s Mr. Football award at Nease High School on his way to becoming one of the nation’s top recruits.


►  WV Bans Indoor Tanning by Those Under 18

West Virginia has outlawed indoor tanning by anyone under 18.

The law approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jim Justice says tanning facility owners face a misdemeanor charge and $100 fine for a first offense.

That rises to a fine ranging from $250 to $500 for a second conviction and $500 to $1,000 for a third.

Under the old law, children younger than 14 were banned from tanning beds in West Virginia businesses. Those 14 to 17 needed parental permission or consent.

Sponsors say medical evidence shows an increased risk of skin cancers from indoor tanning.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 43 states regulate minors’ use of tanning facilities, and 15 other states and the District of Columbia ban them for people under 18.


►  State Enacts Abortion Notification Change

Governor Jim Justice has signed a law ending a doctor’s ability to waive the legal requirement to notify parents of an underage daughter’s abortion.

It allows only a judge to waive parental notification.

Under the old law, a physician other than the one performing an abortion can waive the requirement by finding that the minor is mature enough to decide independently or that notification wouldn’t be in her best interest.

Advocates say waivers are needed sometimes, especially to protect girls raped in abusive or violent households.

Physician waivers were used four times in 2015, when 48 minors in West Virginia had abortions.

Another new law prohibits doctors from prescribing narcotics or drugs that induce abortion by telemedicine.


►  State Supreme Court Hears Argument in a Hate Crime Case

The state’s Supreme Court has heard arguments on whether a former Marshall University football player should be charged with a hate crime under West Virginia law.

The court heard arguments Tuesday to determine if Steward Butler should be charged with a hate crime in connection with a 2015 attack on two men seen kissing.

Cabell County assistant prosecuting attorney Lauren Plymale argued in court that sexual-orientation discrimination should fall under the West Virginia code banning sex discrimination. She says Butler was enraged because of his own gender expectation that men shouldn’t kiss each other.

Elbert Lin, solicitor general for the state Attorney General’s Office, argued sexual orientation and sex are distinct concepts that have differing meanings.

A ruling is expected later this year.


►  Wayne County Board of Education Cuts 84 Positions

The Wayne County Board of Education has decided to eliminate 84 jobs to balance the budget.

The board made the cuts at a special meeting Tuesday to account for a multi-million dollar shortfall. The cuts will consolidate and eliminate positions.

School Superintendent David Roach says that if the board hadn’t approved the changes, the state would have possibly made the cuts.

The school system hopes to have the budget approved by the State Board of Education in May.

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