Attorney General Morrisey Urges Caution When Consumers Shop on Cyber Monday

The Free Press WV

CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges shoppers to be wary of scammers when searching for deals this Cyber Monday, Nov. 30.

“Online sites will be very busy Cyber Monday, as will scammers and hackers trying to steal your personal information,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “It is critical for consumers to know how to protect themselves from online scams.”

Cyber Monday, developed to encourage online spending through exclusive product offers and discounts, now rivals Black Friday for most retail revenue generated in a single day. It occurs the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving each year.

Last year’s numbers showed a continued trend of digital retail growth with more than $2 billion in sales for the first time ever. According to the National Retail Federation, Cyber Monday 2015 is expected to contribute significantly to a projected $105 billion in online holiday sales.

Analysts believe that increase comes with the ease of push-button purchases as more and more consumers rely upon computers, smartphones and tablets to help fill Santa’s sleigh.

“As purchasing options become more abundant, so do the potential threats to consumers’ personal identifiable information,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Following simple precautions like avoiding unsecure wireless internet connections and suspicious e-mail links can save consumers a lot of time and money.”

The Attorney General’s Office suggests the following tips to safeguard personal information:

• Consider using one-time or multi-use credit cards rather than debit cards.

• Watch for spelling mistakes or low-quality images, which may indicate a hastily created website.

• Ensure URL addresses legitimately match the known retailer’s website.

• Avoid money transfers to unknown people, instead rely upon secure payment systems such as PayPal.

• Make sure the payment page starts with https:// as the “s” indicates a secure page.

The Attorney General’s Office also reminds consumers of Federal Trade Commission shipping requirements, which mandate companies deliver merchandise within the time frame promised. It further requires companies to notify consumers when a shipment cannot be delivered on time.
If no time frame is promised, the FTC requires companies to ship products within 30 days of when the order is received. Notifications of a late delivery should be accompanied with the choice of a refund or new deliver date. Any refund request must be processed within seven days.
If you feel as though you have been scammed while shopping online on Cyber Monday or anytime, please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division toll free at 800.368.8808.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►   Canadian firm buys Grant County wind project for $200M

CHARLESTON, WV — A Canadian energy firm is spending $200 million take over a stalled wind project in West Virginia’s Grant County, and hopes to have the 49-turbine wind farm up and running by the end of next year, the company said.

Alberta-based Enbridge said this week that has bought the New Creek Wind Project from EverPower and intends to have the project in operation in December 2016, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

The 49-turbines of the 103-megwatt project, which has been in development since at least 2008, are expected to run on a seven-mile stretch of ridgeline near Greenland in northern Grant County.

Enbridge is the third company to own the New Creek Wind Project.

Arlington, Virginia-based company AES Corp. first proposed the wind farm and hoped to have it in service in 2012, but construction was suspended after the Federal Aviation Administration said the project failed to meet certain criteria.

Pittsburg-based wind power company EverPower bought the project from AES in 2014.

The initial proposal was for 64 turbines that could generate 160 megawatts of power, but the project has been scaled back. Gamesa, a Spanish company, will provide the 49 turbines that will have blades that are 155 feet long.

Vern Yu, an Enbridge vice president, said in a statement that the project will advance the company’s goal of growing its renewable energy platform. Enbridge focuses primarily on oil and gas pipelines.

►   FidoTV: Elkview native launches channel for dog lovers

CHARLESTON, WV — Tad Walden didn’t have next door neighbors.

Growing up, he couldn’t just run down the block to his friend’s house and play catch. He lived away from his friends, on property in Elkview that his mom and stepdad owned.

But living in a remote location didn’t mean he was lonely. He always had someone to play with at home, someone to romp around his family’s 16 acres, someone to explore the woods with on a summer afternoon.

His playmates were his dogs. His family always had one, sometimes two.

“I would go out for the day and play with the dogs in the woods. That was, as a kid, how I entertained myself,“ Walden said. “I’ve just always loved dogs.“

He owns three now — one wire fox terrier and two vizslas. He breeds, trains and shows his vizslas, a small pointer, retriever breed from Hungary.

Walden has spent the past five years channeling his passion for canines into a professional pursuit. He is the founder and CEO of FidoTV, an independent television channel solely focused on providing family-friendly, canine-related programming for dog lovers.

“It really is boiled down to: Life is better with a dog. And now TV is too,“ Walden said.

The channel launched October 14 on Channel 245 on DISH, the third largest television platform in the U.S. FidoTV is available to DISH’s nearly 14 million homes. Walden said negotiations are underway to make FidoTV available to an additional 26 to 30 million homes, although he couldn’t disclose the platforms or the timeline for FidoTV’s expansion.

The channel is partnering with the American Kennel Club. In addition to original programing, it will air AKC events. On December 12 and 13, it will air the 2015 American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship evening events.

The channel’s original programs currently include “Pet Heroes,“ ‘'Pick a Puppy” and “Dogs with Jobs.“

Walden said the channel has 20 core programming categories — from rescue shows, to movies, to breed shows, to vet shows. He said many more shows are in the production phase and will air on the channel in the coming months.

MotionMasters, a Charleston-based video production company, is currently working to produce one of those shows, “Which Woof’s for Me?“ for FidoTV, which will begin airing in early 2016. The show dives into different breeds, explaining how to care for each breed, as well as its history and specific traits.

Diana Sole Walko, president of MotionMasters, has been traveling across the country with her crew to film 12 different dog breeds for the show. Each episode of the show will focus on two breeds. The show’s whirlwind filming began in October.

They’ve filmed the fastest Boston terrier in Colorado Springs, Colorado; a Coton de Tulear breeder from Morgantown; bull dogs in Columbus, Ohio; and beagles in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia.

Although MotionMasters has produced educational videos that have been distributed nationwide, this is its first network production contract.

“It’s very exciting to be doing work that millions of people are going to be seeing,“ Walko said. “Shows like this originate out of New York or L.A., now they originate out of Charleston, West Virginia.“

As a product of the Mountain State and a graduate of Marshall University, Walden said he’s pushing about “30 percent of production dollars into the state.“

“I’m doing my best to support West Virginia and West Virginia businesses.“

After Walden graduated from Marshall University, he worked in advertising and marketing in Detroit, but soon returned to his home. He worked at Charles Ryan Associates in Charleston for 10 years. It was there that he first began working with companies involved in television.

His ties in the industry grew when he moved to Dallas and began managing accounts for television companies, while working at an advertising, marketing and public relations firm. He made the switch from working at an agency to working for a client. He moved to Denver, Colorado, to work as the vice president of marketing of Primestar Satellite TV, a television platform that was eventually purchased by DirectTV.

Before he formed FidoTV, he worked as chief marketing officer for OnCommand Video. There he managed all television programming contracts. He saw first-hand how much cable channels are charging television platforms to air their content.

He said channels or groups of channels would often go to television platforms with “guns drawn” demanding more money. If companies have to pay more for its channels — channels that they can’t afford to lose — then consumers have to pay more to watch those channels, he explained.

“When a channel looks at a distributor and says, ‘I want more money,‘ distributors are caught in that game,“ Walden said. “A lot is passed through to the consumer, but the consumer doesn’t really have a real choice in that business model.“

Walden said FidoTV is using a different approach. He said they are working to find a way for the distributor, consumer and advertisers to benefit.

He said FidoTV can be considered a “skinny package,“ which means high quality for consumers at a low cost for television providers.

“We have an incredibly unique business model. It’s because I came from (the television provider’s) side of the desk. I know the problems they’re facing with channels.“

He said the channels that cost the most don’t necessarily mean that they’ll have the highest viewership rates.

He’s not worried about finding people interested in watching the FidoTV’s dog-focused content.

Close to 43.3 million households in the U.S. owned a pet dog in 2012, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Multiple reports estimate that the number has grown to close to 55 million homes today. More than $60 billion will be spent on pets this year, according to the American Pet Products Association. Walden said even during the 2008 economic downturn, the pet industry grew rather than suffer.

He credits these high numbers and economic prosperity to the “humanization factor,“ where pets, especially dogs, have become an extension of the family.

That’s a large number of advertisers and consumers for FidoTV to tap into.

“There’s never been one (channel) specifically designed for people with dogs,“ Walden said.

Not to mention that paying acting royalties in the form of dog biscuits helps to save costs.

Walden warned if viewers aren’t already dog owners, they better be careful.

“Our employees as well as our production (crews) have already figured out there is a big hazard working with this channel.“

Walden said shortly into filming, he overheard crew members say, “Oh, I need a puppy” and “I got to get a dog.“

FidoTV can be found online at Soon people will be able to download a free mobile app that offers shorter original content.

►   Hospice worker shares perspective on being minority in field

HUNTINGTON, WV — Hospice of Huntington wasn’t the first thing that Scott Leonhart thought of when he decided to become a nurse.

The former police officer went to nursing school and first got a more typical nursing job, in a hospital. He was a little skeptical when someone first brought up the possibility of him going into end-of-life care. Like a lot of people, he didn’t understand it.

Now, after three and a half years serving as one of just a handful of male nurses with Hospice of Huntington, Leonhart loves his job. Not only does he feel fortunate to get to meet so many interesting patients and their families, but he finds honor in trying to make their last months, weeks and days as peaceful and painless as possible.

“In working with hospice, the difference is, people want your help,“ he said. They don’t just want some medicine and to be on their way.

“People are at the end of their lives, and their families want them to die with dignity,“ Leonhart said. “Caring for a loved one who is dying or sick is the hardest job you’ll ever have, and we try to make it easier for them.“

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and here in the Huntington area - where Hospice of Huntington has been serving the community for 33 years - hospice care is still a topic that is often misunderstood, but usually not for long once a family gets introduced officially to the organization and its mission.

“There are people who at first think that hospice is a death sentence,“ Leonhart said.

Bobby Moore, an admissions nurse for Hospice of Huntington, has a pet peeve. He doesn’t like it when medical professionals tell patients and their families that there’s nothing more that can be done for them. That’s never the case, he said. There may be nothing more to do in the way of a cure or recovery from their condition, but there’s always something you can do to optimize the time you have left, he said.

“What I like to tell families is that, while we may be done with a cure, we can still do something to improve life,“ said Moore, who has been with Hospice of Huntington for 11 years. “We merely move from cure to comfort, and in that way, we help families understand that someone can still help and offer them hope that their situation may be improved, not by curing the disease but by allowing a better quality of life.“

Hospice was always a type of nursing that interested Moore, he said. He sees it as a special ministry.

“It can be heart-wrenching,“ he said. “You have to set up boundaries for yourself. If you become part of the family unit and then you leave, the family has to deal with another loss.“

But while other types of nursing don’t allow much time for conversation, hospice care is one that does, Moore said.

“It’s one of the few places I have the ability to sit down and talk with people about a lot of things,“ he said. “And that’s one thing they really need - to talk.“

It can be fascinating, Leonhart said.

“You get to meet older people and hear how amazing they were,“ he said. “A lot are veterans and have gone through a lot of stuff, and it’s awesome to hear their stories.“

To be able to help them in such a trying time, by accommodating the kind of care that many other health care providers simply can’t, is extremely rewarding, Leonhart said.

When admitted into hospice care, patients and/or their families decide whether they want to stay at home or go to the Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House. The role of hospice’s registered nurses is to visit their homes and check their vital signs. They assess their needs, order medicine and monitor signs of decline, such as loss of appetite or lack of movement. All are things that keep them from having to go to a healthcare facility, which can be both traumatic and even dangerous for someone in a frail condition.

“If there is a medical need in the middle of the night, they’ll be there,“ Moore said. “If you’re throwing up your guts, and the family doesn’t know what to do, they’ll come out. It can be at 2 in the morning or on Christmas.“

Whether you’re a male nurse or a female nurse hasn’t often been a problem, Moore and Leonhart said. However, in working with the older population, there are some people who seem surprised when they’re expecting a nurse and a man shows up.

“Sometimes, when you go into a house, they see a male nurse and they’re leery. Some may have never had a male nurse,“ Leonhart said.

It’s always good to have both men and women represented in the profession, Moore said.

“I feel like patients and families are better served by having so many different and unique perspectives,“ Moore said.

Man or woman, hospice is both a challenging and wonderful work environment, he and Leonhart said.

“I’ve never worked with a group of people so supportive,“ Leonhart said. “Everyone is on equal footing. We have nurses who have been here a long time, and their knowledge is (astounding).“

In order to work at hospice at all, “you have to be a certain caliber of person,“ Moore said. Its doctors, aides, social workers, pharmacist, dietitian, clergy, counselors and volunteers are all carefully choSenator

“As any place would, we try to get the best people we can,“ Moore said. “We can’t tolerate letting people down.“

►   Beckley, WV physician in custody after being indicted on multiple federal drug charges

A doctor in Beckley, WV is facing multiple federal drug charges, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin reports.

Dr. Jose Jorge Abbud Gordinho has been held at the Southern Regional Jail since November 12, when he was indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Beckley, Goodwin said. 

The 21-count indictment alleges Gordinho conspired to distribute pain medications, including oxycodone and morphine, for other than legitimate medical purposes “and beyond the bounds of medical practice,“ authorities say.

The indictment also alleges he distributed oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as two counts of distributing controlled substances, all in a manner not consistent with the practice of medicine.

Each of the 21 counts is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.

Gordinho will be arraigned November 30 in Beckley, Goodwin said, adding the court also will consider a government motion that he remain in custody pending trial.

West Virginia State Police and the FBI conducted the investigation.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►   Fence Jumper Causes White House Lockdown

A man who apparently intended to interrupt the Obama’s family’s Thanksgiving hopped the White House fence wrapped in a US flag Thursday afternoon but he didn’t get far. The intruder, identified by NBC as Joseph Caputo, was arrested by Secret Service agents soon after he jumped the fence onto the North Lawn at 2:45pm. He was carrying what appeared to be a binder in his mouth. President Obama and his family were celebrating Thanksgiving inside the White House at the time, reports CNN, which notes that Caputo is the third person to make it over the fence this year. The White House was locked down and the all-clear was issued around two hours later.

►   Guy Who Sold Stolen Brains on eBay Sentenced

A man who stole the preserved brains of mental patients from a former hospital for the insane and sold them on eBay has been sentenced by a judge who wants him to find a less macabre way to make a living. David Charles, 23, was ordered to obtain a high school diploma as part of a four-year sentence that includes one year of home detention and two years of probation, reports Reuters. He was arrested for multiple burglaries at the Indiana Medical History Museum in Indianapolis after a sting operation in December 2013 and, with evidence against him including dozens of recovered jars of brain and a bloody fingerprint he left behind, he pleaded guilty on Wednesday, the Indianapolis Star reports.

According to court documents, Charles sold six jars of brains for $600 to a San Diego man who contacted authorities when he noticed the labels on them, reports Reuters. The museum is on the site of the hospital, which treated mental patients from 1848 to 1994. After the theft, museum director Mary Ellen Nottage told the Star that the thefts had boosted attendance at the small museum, which, just a few years earlier, had held an exhibition on the “Gang of Ghouls"—grave robbers who plagued the city early last century, stealing freshly buried corpses to sell for use in medical schools.

►   1K Christmas Trees Lifted From Fla. Costco

The holiday season kicked off with a bah-humbug bang this week with reports of an ambitious theft from a Florida Costco. Miami-Dade police are trying to find two 53-foot semi-truck trailers crammed with 500 Christmas trees each, taken sometime between 8pm and midnight Tuesday from outside the Kendall warehouse, the Miami Herald reports. The trailers themselves were worth $78,000 in total. “They were brand new—2015,“ Frank Ducassi, a rep for the refrigerated-truck company that delivered the trees, tells the paper. Conflicting media reports make it unclear whether the trees were worth $18,000 in total, as the Herald reports, or if each trailer’s haul was worth that much, putting the cost closer to $36,000 altogether.

The Fraser firs are sold right off the truck to customers for $30 each, and it’s the only time all year that non-Costco equipment stays on site overnight, a store GM tells the Herald. A special pin lock is typically used to secure Costco trailers so they can’t be hauled off, which Ducassi says he thinks was in the Costco contract, but the store GM says he thought he only had to lock up the trailer doors. “It’s going to be a black eye for Costco if they were supposed to secure the trailers and didn’t,“ he tells the paper.

►   Sex Offender With Stolen Boarding Pass Gets Through Security

Authorities at Salt Lake City International Airport are trying to figure out how a man who swiped a boarding pass that a female passenger had accidentally left in a kiosk was able to get past security. Michael Salata, 61, was able to check in at the boarding gate for a Southwest Airlines flight to Oakland and he was only caught when the real passenger, who was a little way behind Salata in line, showed a replacement boarding pass she had on her phone, reports the Deseret News, which notes that it is not clear whether Salata made it onto the plane. Police say Salata, who is homeless, could be charged with “fraudulent handling of a recordable writing,“ which is a third-degree felony in Utah, the News reports.

A Southwest Airlines spokeswoman tells the News that TSA security screeners are “tasked with verifying a passenger’s boarding pass and identification” before the passenger can get to a boarding gate, and it was Southwest’s own system that caught Salata by flagging that his boarding pass had already been scanned. It is not clear why Salata—who was placed on the sex offender registry in 2012 after a charge of lewdness involving a child—wanted to board the plane, but officials say he wasn’t carrying anything that would have made him a security risk, the AP reports. (Undercover Homeland Security agents tried to smuggle fake explosives and weapons past TSA agents 70 times and were only caught on three occasions.)

►   Girl Dies Decade After Abuse, Babysitter Charged

A babysitter has been charged with murdering his charge after an incident in 2005. Here’s the weird part: the girl died this January. Authorities say Christopher Byrd violently shook the 11-month-old daughter of his girlfriend, whom he lived with in La Habra, Calif., until she fell unconscious while he was looking after the child on January 12, 2005, report the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register. Police say he then ran to a neighbor’s house to call paramedics. For the next 10 years of her life, Savannah Quake remained in a vegetative state, having suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Authorities say her death on January 17 of this year was directly related to Byrd’s actions. In 2007, Byrd pleaded guilty to charges of child abuse and possessing methamphetamine related to the incident in 2006 and was sentenced to four years in prison, reports the New York Times, but Savannah’s death allows for new charges, authorities say. Byrd—who’s already serving nearly nine years in prison for drugs and theft—is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of murder and felony assault on a child on December 4 and could face 25 years to life if convicted.

►   West Point Bans Pillow Fights After Bloody Brawl

West Point’s annual pillow fights—during which hundreds of first-year cadets or “plebes” bludgeon each other—will be no more. The academy’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., has banned the unsanctioned events after 30 people were injured in this year’s pillow fight on August 20; the injuries included a fractured cheek, broken nose, and 24 concussions; doctors found people were “hit by elbows or other body parts” or were knocked to the ground, per the New York Times. Cadets also suggested “hard objects” were hidden inside pillowcases.

One cadet who was hit from behind ended up unconscious, according to the report, per USA Today. These “unprofessional spirit events” have “no place in the future of the academy or in the development of the Army’s next generation of leaders,“ Caslen says, adding some “senior military members and cadets” may also be disciplined to “send a clear message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.“ The Army says the pillow-fight tradition began in 2001—the fight typically takes place at the start of each plebe year—though some suggest the tradition’s roots stretch back to the early part of the 20th century.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►   Mortar attack on UN base in north Mali kills 3, injures 20

DAKAR, Senegal — Mortars lit up the dawn sky when they were fired on a United Nations base in the northern Mali city of Kidal early Saturday, killing at least three people.

The attack came eight days after Islamic extremists attacked a luxury hotel further south in the capital, Bamako, in which 20 people were killed.

Two U.N. peacekeepers and a contractor were killed in the Saturday assault in Kidal that also injured 20 people, leaving four in serious condition, said Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Mali.

Guinea’s Ministry of Defense said two of its soldiers were killed. A statement by the U.N. Security Council condemning the attack said the contractor killed was from Burkina Faso.

A Kidal resident said about six shells were fired by attackers at dawn.

“The earth vibrated then I saw two flares in the air and then another one burst, which gave me the impression of being a response by the U.N.,“ said Assarid Ag Cheick.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack in the country’s restless north but Islamic extremists are suspected.

“I want to reiterate that these attacks will not impede the determination of the United Nations to support the Malian people and the peace process,“ said Mongi Hamdi, the head of the U.N. mission. “I express my solidarity and salute the brave men and women serving (the U.N. mission) throughout the country for their efforts to bringing lasting peace to Mali in these difficult conditions.“

Northern Mali has been unstable since it fell to Tuareg separatists and then Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. Separatists, militia groups and the government signed a peace deal in June.

In 2013, the French pushed Islamic militants out of Mali’s northern cities and towns, but jihadists continue to carry out attacks, often targeting U.N. peacekeepers.

Extremists extended their reach further south this year, including an assault on a Bamako restaurant and bar popular with foreigners in March that killed five people and another on a hotel in Mali’s central Sevare town in August that killed 13. Islamic extremist group Al-Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for both attacks.

The group has said it worked with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb on the November 20 assault on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako. However, responsibility for the attack was also claimed by other militant groups.

Malian authorities have said they arrested two men over the violence.

►   Hollande, activists gear up for critical climate talks

PARIS — French President Francois Hollande met with environmental groups Saturday, pushing for an ambitious global deal to reduce man-made emissions blamed for global warming – with emphasis on helping developing countries adapt to a changing world.

The talks in the Elysee Palace came as President Barack Obama, the leaders of China, Russia and more than 140 other countries prepare to converge on Paris to launch two weeks of high-stakes talks.

Leaders and climate negotiators from 196 countries meeting at the U.N. talks November 30-December 11 will try to hash out the broadest, most lasting deal to date to slow global warming.

Saturday’s meeting and the talks are taking place under extra-high security after Islamic extremists killed 130 people in Paris on November 13.

Security was already planned to be tight even before the attacks, given the throng of government leaders attending.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Saturday that just under a thousand people thought to pose security risks have been banned from entering the country since tighter border controls were enforced earlier this month in the run-up to the COP21 climate talks and in the wake of France’s deadliest attacks in recent memory.

Later Saturday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius symbolically handed over the “keys” to the climate conference to the U.N. climate change agency, which will oversee the two-week talks. Fabius and Hollande have traveled the world this year and used France’s diplomatic weight to try to rally international support for a tough and binding deal.

“The keys to the (conference) are now in the hands of the U.N., a symbolic key of hope,“ Fabius tweeted after handing over a giant key to Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Figueres, speaking at a joint news conference, evoked a moral, economic and technological imperative “to act now on climate change.“

“On the 11 of December (when the conference closes) I want to be able to pronounce six simple words that will be the outcome of unprecedented efforts,“ Fabius said: “The Paris agreement has been approved.“

The last global climate treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, required only rich countries to reduce emissions and the U.S., the world’s biggest emitter, didn’t take part.

The changing of the guard for the climate conference means that U.N. security now takes over the watch inside the vast conference site outside Paris, while 2,800 French forces guard surrounding zones during the two-week conference.

The talks are happening with France in a state of emergency and thousands of troops and police fanned out to ensure security after the Paris attacks.

A big march by environmental activists was canceled because of the security measures. Activists are still planning other small actions around France and other countries.

Greenpeace anchored a hot air balloon next to the Eiffel Tower on Saturday bearing the words “rise up for renewables.“

►   Migrants clash with Macedonian police on Greek border

IDOMENI, Greece — Migrants on the Greek-Macedonian border attacked police with stones Saturday, enraged by the sight of Macedonian authorities erecting a fence along the border and an accident that injured a young Moroccan man.

Authorities said 18 Macedonian officers were injured in the brief but intense clashes. Most of them received minor injuries but two were hospitalized in the nearby town of Gevgelija, Macedonia’s Interior Ministry said.

There was no official tally of injured migrants, although Macedonian police targeted them with stun grenades and plastic bullets. Doctors from the Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations said they treated 20 people for head injuries and breathing problems.

The accidental electrocution at the top of a train carriage of a 24-year-old Moroccan, who suffered severe burns, sparked the unrest among the migrants, many of whom have been stranded at the border since Macedonia decided earlier this month, along with Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, to let through only those from the “warzone” countries of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

More than 600,000 refugees and other migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia have entered Europe through Greece this year, many after making the short sea crossing from Turkey. Most of them continue on a long trek through the Balkans toward the promised lands of central and northern Europe.

The 24-year-old is in a serious condition, with extensive burns, Greek police said, and has been transferred to a hospital in the city of Thessaloniki, 50 miles south of the border.

The man’s Moroccan compatriots formed the bulk of the about 250 people who started throwing stones at Macedonian police. Also among the 800 who are stuck at the border are citizens of Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia and Congo.

Greek police didn’t intervene to stop the migrants but did, at one point interpose themselves to protect their Macedonian colleagues, as the migrants would not target the Greeks.

The clash ended in less than an hour when other migrants intervened, holding white clothing as a sign of peace.

Macedonian government spokesman Aleksandar Gjorgjiev told The Associated Press that the country has started to erect a fence on its southern border with Greece in order to prevent illegal crossings and to channel the flow of migrants through the official checkpoint.

Gjorgjiev said “the border will remain open and all migrants from the war-affected zones will be allowed to enter.“

The migrants are camped along the railway tracks, blocking rail traffic for the 11th consecutive day.

“I have been here for 10 days with my two sons. We have decided to return to Athens and see what we will do,“ said 41-year-old Fatemeh, from the Iranian city of Ahwaz. She declined to give her last name, for fear of reprisals.

“There is no way to return to Iran, only prison awaits us,“ she said. “We understand that the Syrians, the Afghans and the Iraqis are at war, but we also have a big political problem. There is no freedom in our country.“

►   Putin orders sanctions against Turkey after downing of jet

ANKARA, Turkey — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday called for sanctions against Turkey, following the downing this week by Turkey of a Russian warplane.

The decree published on the Kremlin’s website Saturday came hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had voiced regret over the incident, saying his country was “truly saddened” by the event and wished it hadn’t occurred.

It includes a ban on some goods and forbids extensions of labor contracts for Turks working in Russia as of January 1. It doesn’t specify what goods are to be banned or give other details, but it also calls for ending chartered flights from Russia to Turkey and for Russian tourism companies to stop selling vacation packages that would include a stay in Turkey.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier in the week had ordered his cabinet to develop a list of goods to be sanctioned.

Putin’s decree also calls for ending visa-free travel between Russia and Turkey and orders the tightening of control over Turkish air carriers in Russia “for security reasons.“ The decree was issued “to protect Russian citizens from crimes,“ a Kremlin statement said.

Erdogan’s expression of regret Saturday was the first since Tuesday’s incident in which Turkish F-16 jets shot down the Russian jet on grounds that it had violated Turkey’s airspace despite repeated warnings to change course. It was the first time in half a century that a NATO member shot down a Russian plane and drew a harsh response from Moscow.

“We are truly saddened by this incident,“ Erdogan said. “We wish it hadn’t happened as such, but unfortunately such a thing has happened. I hope that something like this doesn’t occur again.“

Addressing supporters in the western city of Balikesir, Erdogan said neither country should allow the incident to escalate and take a destructive form that would lead to “saddening consequences.“

He renewed a call for a meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a climate conference in Paris next week, saying it would be an opportunity to overcome tensions.

Erdogan’s friendly overture however, came after he again vigorously defended Turkey’s action and criticized Russia for its operations in Syria.

“If we allow our sovereign rights to be violated . . . then the territory would no longer be our territory,“ Erdogan said.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said he hoped a meeting between Erdogan and Putin would take place in Paris.

“In such situations it is important to keep the channels of communication open,“ he said.

Putin has denounced the Turkish action as a “treacherous stab in the back,“ and has insisted that the plane was downed over Syrian territory in violation of international law. He has also refused to take telephone calls from Erdogan. Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Friday that the Kremlin had received Erdogan’s request for a meeting, but wouldn’t say whether such a meeting is possible.

Asked why Putin hasn’t picked up the phone to respond to Erdogan’s two phone calls, he said that “we have seen that the Turkish side hasn’t been ready to offer an elementary apology over the plane incident.“

After the incident, Russia deployed long-range S-400 air defense missile systems to a Russian air base in Syria just 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the border with Turkey to help protect Russian warplanes, and the Russian military warned it would shoot down any aerial target that would pose a potential threat to its planes.

On Saturday Turkey issued a travel warning urging its nationals to delay non-urgent and unnecessary travel to Russia, saying Turkish travelers were facing “problems” in the country. It said Turks should delay travel plans until “the situation becomes clear.“


The Free Press WV

Make Small Business Saturday a Big Day for West Virginia Small Businesses

The Free Press WV

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is urging state residents to take advantage of Small Business Saturday by shopping local. Tomblin released this message encouraging local shopping:

“This Friday, the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season starts in earnest,“ Tomblin wrote. “Beginning with Black Friday and ending with Cyber Monday, the traditional shopping spree that follows Thanksgiving is the most important weekend of the year for many retail businesses.

“While the excitement of Black Friday can really put you in the holiday spirit, it’s the second day of the shopping weekend that I cheer for - Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 28, and small businesses in communities across the state are already gearing up for what is sure to be a successful weekend.

“Small businesses represent about 96 percent of all employers in the state, and West Virginia’s small businesses employ more than half of the state’s private workforce. These creative companies include artists in media from fiber to forged metal, bakers who can whip up a mouthwatering pie or the perfect pepperoni roll, and restaurants that cater to tastes from spicy curries to meatloaf like mom used to make. West Virginia small businesses produce a range of goods that make great holiday gifts including Fiesta dinnerware, collegiate apparel, fishing sinkers, marbles, sandals, saunas, artisan salt, and hand-blown glass.

“Chances are good that these entrepreneurs and their employees are people you know. They are our friends and neighbors. They are the parents who volunteer with you for school events and the helping hands on civic projects.

“A vibrant downtown can boost business, strengthen communities and revitalize the local economy. Research shows that more of the dollars spent with locally owned small businesses tend to stay in the local economy.  As consumers, we show our support when we buy from West Virginia’s small businesses in our local communities. As a reminder, Main Street West Virginia and ON TRAC have provided local shops with Small Business Saturday posters to display on doors and in windows.

“Shopping small can really add up! Last year, an estimated $14.3 billion was spent at small, independent businesses on Small Business Saturday across the country.

“This weekend as you head out to find that perfect Christmas gift for your loved one, please help by shopping small and supporting West Virginia’s hardworking small business owners.“

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►   Authorities looking for vehicle used to intentionally kill deer in Fayette County

VICTOR, WV — Law enforcement officers in Fayette County are searching for a vehicle they believe intentionally ran off the road to kill a deer early Thursday morning.

At approximately 6 a.m. along U.S. 60 near Wilson Road in the Victor area, a black 2007 Mustang swerved off the road and struck a buck, sending it into the side of a garage.

The occupants got out of the vehicle and cut the deer’s antlers off before fleeing the scene, according to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

Both the garage and a vehicle parked inside suffered damage, but no one in the residence was injured.

After requesting the public’s help in locating the vehicle, it was spotted being loaded onto a car hauler at the intersection of U.S. 60 and Wilson Road early Friday morning.

The sheriff is now asking anyone with information about the whereabouts of the vehicle –which should have damage on its right-front side– or the car hauler to call the Fayette County 911 Center at 304.574.3590.

►   Report: West Virginia sees $10 million drop in charity

HUNTINGTON, WV — A philanthropic group says there has been a $10 million drop in charitable giving in West Virginia over the period of a year.

The report released Tuesday by the Philanthropy West Virginia reveals there was a 2.2 percent decline in charitable giving between 2012 and 2013 while the national average for the same time period increased by 5.4 percent.

The data examined federal tax return numbers from 2013, the most recent year available.

Paul D. Daugherty, president and chief executive officer of the group, says the decline was due to the state’s slower recovery from the 2008 recession.

Philanthropy West Virginia describes itself as a statewide leadership organization for private, family, corporate and community foundations.

►   Trees selected for West Virginia Capitol holiday displays

CHARLESTON, WV — Ed and Ginny Dumire used to put Christmas lights on the blue spruce outside their Randolph County home. But it grew so large that it blocked their view of their horses, so the couple decided over the summer to get rid of the tree.

Now it’s a centerpiece of West Virginia’s holiday celebration at the state Capitol.

“I was rather happy that at least it’s going to have a little bit of light shining on at the end of its life,“ Ginny Dumire said.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will lead a lighting ceremony Tuesday night as part of the annual Joyful Night celebration in Charleston.

The Dumires planted the blue spruce as a seedling in front of their home in Beverly more than two decades ago. But in recent years, “we were finding that we had to go from one end of the house to the other to look out to check on the horses,“ Ginny Dumire said.

So the tree had to go.

“But we hated to just cut it and put it on a brush pile someplace,“ she said. “I really hate cutting a tree. My dad is one of those that always told me, ‘you never cut a tree that benefits an animal.‘ And there were a lot of birds that nested in that tree.“

State Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said the Dumires’ tree will be on display at the Capitol’s north fountain. Another tree donated by a South Charleston church will adorn the Capitol’s south side.

And the holiday tree at the governor’s mansion will come from a familiar source. Al Tolliver’s Fayette County farm started providing trees for the mansion’s display in 2011. This year a Fraser Fir is being donated from the farm on behalf of the West Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association, of which Tolliver is a board member.

Tolliver also sells trees and wreaths for holiday displays out of the Charleston Capitol Market.

►   Woman Run Over by Car in WV Walmart Parking Lot

NEW MARTINSVILLE, WV - It was a scary moment for a Walmart customer in New Martinsville.

According to police, a woman in her early 20s was run over by a car in the New Martinsville Walmart parking lot Thursday evening.

New Martinsville Police Chief Tim Cecil said the woman suffered some bumps and bruises, but is already recovering.

No arrests have been made. Further details have yet to be released.

Officers are still investigating the incident.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►   Woman’s Good Aim Against Drone Costs Her $600

A western Pennsylvania woman has been ordered to pay $600 for hurling driveway gravel at her next-door neighbor’s drone. Mark Shock says he was finishing up a flight in Harwick on August 30 when Martina Wlodarski hit the remote-controlled aircraft. A video shows the drone going haywire after being struck. Shock says two blades flew off and nearly hit him in the face, while Wlodarski says she was frightened by the 3.5-pound aircraft and acted in self-defense. Criminal mischief charges were dropped on Monday as the neighbors agreed that Wlodarski would pay Shock restitution.

►   The Worst Part About That Chicago Cop Video

A freelance journalist whose lawsuit forced Chicago cops to release the video of Laquan McDonald being shot to death thinks the video is most shocking because of how not-shocking it seems for the officers on scene. The shooting “horrifies in its banality,“ writes Brandon Smith in the Guardian. Note that in the silent video, not a single officer attempts to help the teen after he’s been shot again and again. “The lack of sound, and the cold way the officers moved and behaved, made a horrifying act seem almost mundane,“ writes Smith. Perhaps that’s because Chicago police have logged nearly 400 shootings over the last five years—only one of which has been found to be “not justified.“

Given that track record, either police “sparkle with unicorn magic,“ or something awful is going on here, writes Smith. It’s the latter, unfortunately, and the problem is systemic, no matter how hard Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to portray this particular shooting as an aberration. “The video seems so everyday, so scarily commonplace,“ writes Smith. And after so many other similar cases, he wants this one to make a difference. “Laquan’s death has the potential to have meaning—particularly for other people of color, who should not have to be afraid of our police. As the statistics stand, they have reason to be.“ Click for Smith’s full column.

►   Documents Reveal What Ex-Wife Thinks of Jared Fogle

August 19 brought two Jared Fogle-related headlines: The former Subway spokesman reached a plea deal with the feds on charges related to child porn and having sex with minors, and Kathleen Fogle filed for divorce. That divorce was finalized November 16, reports the AP, and Fox59 reports on what court documents related to the divorce contain. Kathleen, who now goes by her maiden name of McLaughlin, has moved her two kids out of Indiana due to “intense media scrutiny.“ While Jared requested what Fox59 calls “in-person ... parenting time” while serving his 15-year sentence, Kathleen argues that would force her to return to Indianapolis, which she says is not in the children’s best interest.

As for her ex, she claims he only has his own interests in mind, calling the aforementioned request “entirely self-serving.“ She asks to be granted sole legal and physical custody of the kids—and says Jared wasn’t much of a dad anyway to their 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. Due to regular travel, “he did not play much of a role in the day-to-day lives of the children even prior to becoming the focus of a criminal investigation.“ Fox59 reports Kathleen will get $7 million as part of the divorce settlement.

►   Guy Who Posted Pic of Dead Wife on Facebook Convicted

A Florida man who killed his wife and posted a photo of the bloody corpse on Facebook was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder after failing to convince a jury that he shot her eight times in self-defense. The jury verdict came in the third week of Derek Medina’s trial in the August 2013 killing of 27-year-old Jennifer Alfonso at their South Miami home. Medina told police in a videotaped statement he shot his wife during an altercation in which she threatened him with a knife. Medina, who did not testify in his own defense, admitted in the police statement taking a cellphone photo of his dead wife’s body and uploading it on Facebook, along with a posting that said he expected to go to prison but was forced to kill her following years of physical abuse.

Prosecutors put on evidence indicating that Medina had vowed to kill Alfonso if she tried to leave him, which she told friends she planned to do. They also pointed out that at 6 feet and about 200 pounds, Medina could have easily overpowered his 5-foot-6 wife without shooting her. “He planned to execute Jen, and he executed his plan,“ prosecutor Leah Klein told jurors in a closing argument. “He was angry and he wanted her dead.“ Medina showed absolutely no emotion as he was handcuffed and led back to jail, where he has been held since the killing. His attorney, Saam Zangeneh, said there will be an appeal. The second-degree murder conviction means that Medina, 33, faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced January 11.

►   Firefighter Charged With Murder in Teen’s DUI Death

Diana Pozderca was on her way home from a friend’s house in her 2001 Mercury Sable around 8:30pm on the night of September 11. At her Sterling Heights, Mich., home there was a surprise waiting: a new Ford Fusion her parents had saved up for and planned to give her the night before she was to drive to visit her brother at Michigan State University. But the 17-year-old, who had graduated high school in June and planned to start college and go into the medical field, “never made it home,“ Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said at a news conference Tuesday. “She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This poor girl never had a chance.“ She was hit head-on by a vehicle allegedly driven by an off-duty firefighter going at least twice the 35mph speed limit with a blood alcohol level at least twice the legal 0.08 limit, the Detroit Free Press reports. She died at a nearby hospital, the Macomb Daily reports.

That firefighter, Tad Alan Dennis, was charged with second-degree murder (which carries up to a life sentence) and operating while intoxicated causing death (which is a 15-year felony) Tuesday, and an assistant prosecutor said there is a “strong likelihood of conviction.“ The 15-year firefighting veteran, who the Free Press describes as “highly decorated,“ was also seriously injured in the crash, and turned himself in in a wheelchair. The father of two daughters had gotten off work at 7:30am the day of the crash, and his car allegedly drifted left of center as he approached Pozderca, who was coming from the other direction as she neared her house, in a mostly residential area. There were no skid marks, indicating he didn’t brake before the collision, Smith said. The force pushed Pozderca’s car backward by 75 feet. Dennis has been on unpaid administrative leave with no benefits since the week after the crash. A GoFundMe campaign for Pozderca’s funeral expenses has raised nearly $17,000.

►   Michael Dukakis Wants Your Turkey Bones

Michael Dukakis would have been one of America’s thriftiest presidents, judging by what he does with Thanksgiving turkeys: He saves all the carcasses he can get to make soup with, and this year, he’s probably going to have more than usual. The former Massachusetts governor tells the Boston Globe that it is “crazy” to throw away bones that can yield so much soup and if any readers don’t want theirs, they can “come to 85 Perry Street in Brookline. We’ll make full use of it, believe me.“ He says the turkey carcasses his friends and family gave him last Thanksgiving lasted the whole year, though he may now have to invest in a bigger freezer, the New York Daily News notes. The Globe has the Dukakis soup recipe here.

►   School Cancels Dance Over ‘Unsafe’ Dirty Dancing

Administrators at a Portland, Oregon, high school have canceled an upcoming winter dance because of concerns about dirty dancing. A Portland Public Schools official says dancing has made some students at Cleveland High School feel unsafe. “This is way worse than dirty dancing. It’s over the top, sexual in nature,“ a district rep tells KGW-TV. “We do have some families that think this isn’t a big enough issue to cancel the dance,“ she adds. “But if we have some kids who don’t feel safe at their own high school dance, it’s not OK.“ Several students tell KGW that they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of a few classmates. It’s unclear if there will be other dances later in the school year.

►   5 Craziest Crimes of the Week

A heroic clown and a sneaky wedding “guest” are among the weirdest crime stories of the week:

  • Trucks Filled With 1K Christmas Trees Stolen From Costco: The holiday season kicked off with a bah-humbug with reports of an ambitious theft from a Costco in Kendall, Florida. Police are trying to find two 53-foot semi-truck trailers crammed with 500 Christmas trees each that were taken Tuesday night. There may have been confusion on how to properly lock the trailers.
  • ‘Doo Doo’ the Clown Saves 2: Two Toronto women probably didn’t expect to be saved by a clown car, but that’s exactly what happened. Shane Farberman, aka “Doo Doo the Clown,“ says he was still in full clown costume when he spotted an apparently disturbed man chasing the women down the street. That’s where Doo Doo came to the rescue.
  • Guy Allegedly Tries to Steal Entire Beer Truck: A 55-year-old Georgia man experienced karma almost immediately after he allegedly stole an 18-wheeler Coors Light semi. Police chased the suspect in the truck and caught up with him at a nearby Bojangles’ restaurant. That’s when he reportedly exited the truck in an attempt to flee police and the aforementioned karma struck. Ouch.
  • Cops Are After a Serial Wedding Crasher: Authorities have issued a $100,000 arrest warrant for a 50-year-old wedding “guest” who’s said to have ripped off bridal party members at venues around Southern California. Police are calling her suspected thieving technique absolutely “brazen,“ and for good reason.
  • Spelling Error Gets Woman Busted for Poisoning: Jacqueline Patrick may want to take English 101 correspondence courses while in jail. The 55-year-old British woman unsuccessfully tried to fatally poison her husband by putting anti-freeze in his wine. How she was caught: a note she claimed her husband had written had a glaring misspelling—one that she duplicated when asked to rewrite it.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►   Family Celebrates Baby’s Recovery After Pope’s Kiss

Baby Gianna Masciantonio developed a rare brain tumor just weeks after her birth last year when her red blood cells attacked her brain stem. After multiple chemotherapy treatments, an August brain scan revealed that the tumor was still there, and parents Joey and Kristen Masciantonio decided to do one more round of chemo before withdrawing treatment and enjoying their final days together, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Then, in September, they got a call from an FBI friend who’d secured them passes to see the pope during his visit to Philadelphia, reports NBC News.

Avid Catholics, the parents got permission from their doctor to brave the throngs and bring baby Gianna to the crowded streets. In what some call the Miracle on Market Street, a security guard brought the baby forward and the pope kissed Gianna’s head, and now, two months later, scans reveal her tumor is smaller and doctors have changed the originally grim prognosis. “It was the luck of the draw,“ her father said. But while he believes in “divine intervention,“ he’s also careful not to dismiss the role of the doctors treating his daughter. “The kiss was God’s work, that’s for sure. But, the miracle was Him giving us the platform to reach those doctors who, ultimately, played a major role in saving Gianna’s life.“

►   Putin: Russia ‘Ready to Cooperate’ Against ISIS

The presidents of France and Russia agreed Thursday to tighten cooperation in the fight against ISIS, although they remained at odds over their approach toward Syrian President Bashar Assad. ISIS has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks against both of the countries’ citizens in recent weeks, and Francois Hollande and Vladimir Putin agreed on increasing intelligence sharing, intensifying their airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, and cooperating on selecting targets. “We agreed on a very important issue: To strike the terrorists only, Daesh and the jihadi groups only, and not to strike the forces and the groups that are fighting against the terrorists,“ said Hollande, whose visit to Moscow was part of a diplomatic drive to increase cooperation in tackling ISIS.

But the two countries disagree about Assad, with Hollande saying he has no place in Syria’s future, and Putin stressing that his fate “should be entirely in the hands of the Syrian people.“ He described Assad’s army as a “natural ally” in the fight against ISIS, and added that Russia was ready to cooperate with other groups ready to fight ISIS. “We view the US-led coalition with respect and stand ready to cooperate with it,“ Putin said. “We believe that we would better create a single, united coalition as it would be easier, simpler and more efficient to coordinate our work that way.“ At the same time, he lashed out at the US over the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, saying the US should have prevented its coalition ally Turkey from making such a move. He said that Russia will hold “serious consultations” with the US over the incident.

►   Russia: Here’s How We’ll Punish Turkey

A tug-of-war over a Russian warplane shot down by a Turkish fighter jet at the border with Syria escalated Thursday, with Moscow drafting a slew of economic sanctions and the Turkish president saying on a defiant note that his military is ready to do the same if another air intrusion happens. Since the plane was shot down, Russia has already restricted tourism, left Turkish trucks stranded at the border, and announced the confiscation of Turkish food imports. On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the draft of formal sanctions against Turkey, which will include “restrictions and bans on Turkish economic structures operating in Russian territory and “restrictions and bans on deliveries of products, including foodstuffs.“

Moscow has also responded the plane’s downing by ordering the deployment of powerful long-range air defense missiles to a Russian air base in Syria and moving a navy missile cruiser closer to the shore to help protect Russian warplanes. The BBC reports that on Thursday, the Russian military suspended all communications channels with their Turkish counterparts—including an accident prevention hot line. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, was in no mood to apologize. Faced with the same airspace violation today, Turkey would give the same response,“ he said. “It’s the country that carried out the violation which should question itself and take measures to prevent it from happening again, not the country that was subjected to a violation.“

►   Report: Iran General Saved Russian Pilot

How exactly did a Russian pilot make it out of enemy territory alive after his plane was shot down by Turkish jets? He was helped by the commander of foreign operations for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, according to an Iranian news agency. The Fars New Agency—citing a Russian agency, which quotes an unnamed Syrian officer—said on Thursday that “credible information was obtained that a number of special Turkish units had been sent to the scene to take the Russian pilot captive to blackmail Russia later,“ per the Times of Israel. So Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani put forth a plan: He proposed that eight members of Hezbollah’s Special Forces and 18 Syrian commandos trained by Iran move in on the ground, with Russia providing “air cover and satellite intelligence,“ per the agency. Russia agreed.

The team “saved the pilot after infiltrating [about four miles] behind the enemy lines, killing the terrorists operating in there, and destroying their hi-tech equipment,“ the agency said. Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday that “11 members of an elite unit of the air force intelligence service” and a Russian translator recovered Konstantin Murakhtin two miles behind enemy lines in the Al-Atira region, about eight miles from the border with Turkey, after he was spotted hiding on the ground by a Russian drone, per AFP. “He was spotted thanks to his GPS. It was a race against time because the terrorists were also looking for him,“ the paper said. Murakhtin injured his leg during the 12-hour operation, but “I feel good in general,“ he told Russian state media on Wednesday. “I am waiting impatiently to be released by the doctors so I can immediately return to service.“

West Virginia Hunters Reminded To Use Electronic Game Checking

The Free Press WV

SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV – The 2015 West Virginia buck firearms season is underway and runs through Saturday, December 05. This is the state’s most popular hunting season and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is reminding hunters that they must use the new electronic game checking system for reporting their harvested animals.

Using their DNR ID#, hunters may check their game by calling 1.844.wvcheck (1.844.982.4325), by smartphone or computer at, or by going to a hunting and fishing license agent. The hunter will be given a 13-digit number that must be written on a game tag or a piece of paper and attached to the animal. All field tagging, transporting and possession requirements still apply.

Hunters who do not yet have a DNR ID# may visit or any license agent to get their number. 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 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. If they try to enroll as a new customer, it will give them a second DNR ID# which will cause problems when they try to check in their game.

Hunters not required to purchase a license (resident landowners and youth, for example) may obtain their DNR ID# by visiting or a license agent.

Not only is the system more convenient for hunters, but it also makes important information available more quickly to DNR staff, who use it to make better wildlife management decisions and to better enforce the state’s hunting laws.


Small Business Saturday is November 28
The Free Press WV

Washington, D.C. ─  U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today encouraged West Virginians to shop at West Virginia small businesses this Saturday, November 28th in celebration of the sixth annual Small Business Saturday.

“We all know that small businesses are the engine of our economy, providing the goods and services we depend on every day,” Senator Manchin said. “From our family-owned restaurants and coffee shops, to the local convenience stores, West Virginia’s more than 120,000 small businesses make up an estimated 96 percent of the state’s economy. Their success is critical to staying competitive, creating jobs and moving West Virginia forward. As a small businessman myself, I understand the important contributions our small businesses make to our state and the challenges they face.

“It is important to remember that when you’re shopping at small businesses, you are investing back into the community this holiday season. Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for all West Virginians and Americans to show support for our small businesses and our small business owners to help them prosper. Today and every day, I encourage all West Virginians to shop at our small businesses.”

Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010. It is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to promote shopping at small businesses throughout the country.

To find small businesses in your community to support this Saturday, please click H E R E.

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Foundation Awards Grants to Local Organizations

The Free Press WV

Harrisville, WV – Ritchie County Community Foundation (RCCF), an affiliate of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF), held a reception on Tuesday, November 17, at the Harrisville Town Hall to award its fall grants. RCCF awarded a total of $5,250 in grants to six different organizations:

  • Harrisville Elementary School - $600 from the Ritchie County Community Endowment Fund for iPads to assist with math and reading instruction;
  • Harrisville Volunteer Fire Department - $1,650 from the Harrisville Civic Club Community Improvement Fund for personal protective equipment and firefighting equipment;
  • Town of Cairo - $600 from Ritchie County Community Endowment Fund to provide matching funds for a state grant for sidewalk improvements;
  • Regeneration/Packs of Plenty - $900 from the Ritchie County Community Endowment Fund and the Lowell and Wilda Jackson Community Fund to purchase food for weekends for Ritchie County elementary and middle school student in need;
  • Ritchie County Integrated Family Services - $900 from the Ritchie County Community Endowment Fund and the Lowell and Wilda Jackson Community Fund to support the meal delivery program for homebound seniors;
  • West Virginia University Foundation for Bonnie’s Bus - $600 from Ritchie County Community Endowment Fund to provide mammograms to Ritchie County women through the mobile mammography unit.

The Ritchie County Community Foundation affiliate is a collection of 25 funds within the PACF representing approx. $1.34 million in charitable assets to benefit Ritchie County causes.    These permanent, charitable funds are dedicated for scholarship and grant support for Ritchie County and established by local donors, individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations. Every year a portion of each fund’s earnings produce annual scholarships and local community grants. Funds are dedicated to support specific organizations or causes, provide support for fields of interest like education or health, or provide scholarship support for local students (often in memory or honor of special people from the community). Once the fund reaches endowment (a minimum amount of $5,000 - $25,000 depending on the type of fund), these funds will forever provide annual grants and scholarships for today’s residents as well as those in the generations to follow.   

At the program, Harrisville Mayor Allen Haught, RCCF advisory board chairman, also spoke on RCCF’s recent progress and activities.  “RCCF has been fortunate to have the support of many generous people, businesses and organizations who have helped to build these resources,” Haught said. “I know that we have several of our supporters here with us today and we want to thank you for your generous gifts which are helping to ensure that our community has the resources it needs now and long into the future.”

In its most recently completed fiscal year, RCCF awarded 23 scholarships to Richie County students, totaling $21,075, and 11 grants totaling $16,360 to support a variety of community needs and organizations. Ritchie County students and nonprofit organizations also benefit by Ritchie County being a part of the broader regional foundation, as they received additional support through grants and scholarships awarded through PACF funds. The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation awarded eight scholarships, totaling $9,850, to Ritchie County students and three grants totaling $8,000 to Ritchie County organizations.

Secretary Tennant Encourages West Virginians to Shop and Dine Small this Saturday

The Free Press WV

Charleston, WV – As West Virginians start or continue their holiday shopping this weekend, Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant is encouraging people to participate in Small Business Saturday and check out the small businesses in their hometown or wherever they are. 

Small Business Saturday is November 28.

“Each year, we encourage West Virginians to shop and dine small on Small Business Saturday, because shopping small means supporting our neighbors and celebrating all that small businesses do for our communities,” Secretary Tennant said. “Whether you visit your local jewelry shop or toy store, or grab a cup of coffee or lunch from a local diner or shop, you’re making sure that dollars stay in your town.”

The Secretary of State’s Office works with small business owners year-round, making it easy to file important paperwork so they can focus on their product.

According to West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, about 42 percent of workers in West Virginia are employed by small businesses.

The 2014 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey estimated that $14.3 billion was spent nationwide at small businesses last year.

“Research tells us that when we spend money at local small businesses, more of that money is returned to the community when compared to chain stores,” said Secretary Tennant. “Let’s take this opportunity to support the small businesses that support our neighborhoods by spending some time with them on Saturday and throughout the year.”

Small business owners and shoppers are encouraged to use the hashtags #ShopSmall, #DineSmall or #SmallBizSatWV on Twitter.

Information for business owners and shoppers on how they can take part in Small Business Saturday can be found here on the Small Business Administration website. Main Street West Virginia and ON TRAC communities are also promoting shopping small this year.

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BUCKHANNON, WV—Receptions were held to honor the President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Sue Johnson-Phillippe, in recognition of her retirement. A community reception was held November 3rd in the Greek Alumni Room on West Virginia Wesleyan’s campus followed by a hospital reception on November 18th. Attendees gathered to thank Johnson-Phillippe for her service and to wish her well.

“Sue has led the St. Joseph’s family brilliantly over the last seven years,” said Terry Cronin, Chairman of St. Joseph’s Hospital’s Board of Trustees. “She has been a true leader, in making such wise choices for the hospital, in demonstrating a passionate commitment to our mission, in always choosing a respectful and collaborative approach, all with kindness and concern for others. It has been a true joy spending time with her in service to our community. We are very proud of her accomplishments and wish her well in her retirement.”

Johnson-Phillippe began her role as interim CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital in July of 2008, becoming the permanent CEO in November of that year. Under her leadership she recruited physicians needed to serve the community including a cardiologist, urologist, internal medicine specialist, obstetrics/gynecologists and family physicians. She led the conversion of the hospital to Critical Access Status, ensuring the financial sustainability of the hospital. She opened a Skilled Nursing Facility, giving the community access to rehabilitative care close to home and created the Pallottine Care Unit, an End-of-Life suite located within the hospital. She

established a relationship with West Virginia University (WVU) Emergency Medicine to staff the hospital’s Emergency Department with WVU physicians and built the PromptCare into a strong walk-in clinic to serve the community. Most recently, she has overseen the successful transition of St. Joseph’s Hospital into the United Hospital Center/WVU Medicine family.

The Free Press WV

Johnson-Phillippe also served the community on the Upshur County Development Authority Board of Directors, the Buckhannon Rotary Club, Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce, and volunteered with Upshur County Literacy. On a state-wide level she served as the Chairwoman of the West Virginia Hospital Association (WVHA) and with the State and Regional Trauma Emergency Institute. In her capacity as Chair of WVHA, she was appointed by the West Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources to serve on the State Innovation Model Steering Committee.

During her tenure, the hospital was recognized as Industry of the Year by the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce in 2013; Johnson-Phillippe was recognized as Business Woman of the Year by the Chamber in 2014; its Nursing Care Facility was named one of the “Best in the State” by U. S. News and World Report for the fifth year in a row in 2014; and the hospital was recognized as one of America’s Best Emergency Care hospitals by the Women’s Choice Award in 2014 and 2015.

Dr. Robert Blake, Chief of Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital said “"from her first day at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Sue’s leadership inspired an infectious accountability and an unwavering resolve that changed the culture by bringing out the best of every employee. She possesses the courage and diligence to move mountains, and she did. I have the utmost respect for Sue, not only for what she has done for St. Joseph’s Hospital, but also as a person.“

“Sue Johnson-Phillippe has taken St. Joseph’s Hospital into a new era of healthcare, which is more and more sophisticated and complex,” said Sister Francesca Lowis, Vice President of Mission Integration. “She has been a great motivator and mentor to the physicians and staff and a compassionate advocate for patients and their families. She leads by example and expects the best efforts from everyone. Sue has become not only a great CEO to the hospital but a treasured friend to me.”

“Being able to serve the Mission of St. Joseph’s Hospital, its Board of Trustees and Pallottine Health Services has been an extraordinary privilege,” said Johnson-Phillippe. “It has been a capstone experience that has contributed to a dynamic transformation of the hospital on every level, paving the way for the organization to be sustainable for the future.”

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►   Hunter’s Fire Breaks Boulder, Which Falls and Crushes Him

West Virginia State Police say a hunter was killed after he and a fellow hunter built a fire and the heat broke apart an overhanging boulder, which tumbled onto him. According to a police statement, the hunter’s death occurred Monday afternoon, the start of the buck firearms season in the state. Police say 25-year-old Donnie Barker III died at the scene in a wooded area in Boone County. His fellow hunter, 19-year-old Steven Lee Setser, was injured but managed to make it to a relative’s house for assistance. Setser was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening. Police say the men had started the fire under the boulder to seek heat.

►   Hunters arrested for illegal activity

GREEN SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV — Several hunters were arrested Wednesday night for illegal activity in Summers County.

The hunters, from West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, were pulled from the hunting camp in Green Sulpher Springs, even through there were 18 deer already harvesting, according to officials with the state Division of Natural Resources.

Charges varied from spotlighting, to no licenses/stamps, to safety violations. Fines totaled up to more than $10,000.

All deer seized were donated to citizens of Summers County.

►   Enthusiasts revved up about remote-controlled vehicles

CLARKSBURG, WV — When it comes to remote-controlled (R/C) cars and trucks, it’s easy to become hooked.

“I’ve been interested in them for a long time,“ said Herbert Hill of Mannington, who has become a true enthusiast. “I just finally started buying them.“

That began on a snowy day last winter at Xtreme Sports at the Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport.

The R/C vehicles offer enjoyment, but they are more than toys. Much more.

“It’s a nice habit,“ Hill said. “It’s fun. It’s really fun. It’s just having fun with the remote controls out here in the woods. Just having a good ol’ time. It’s nice and peaceful and everything.“

Some may prefer to keep them at home and set up courses inside the house or in the yard. That’s fine. Others prefer more of a challenge, modifying the vehicles and taking them to outdoor courses where they can compete on a track or send their vehicles over trails, up and down hills, and over rocks.

Tim Ingram, the Xtreme Sports owner who planned to open a second store at the Morgantown Mall in Westover in October, is in the process of developing 36 acres of his property off exit 115 of Interstate 79 in Harrison County south of Clarksburg for enthusiasts of R/C vehicles, a location named Xtreme Sports Park.

“We’re not utilizing all of it right now,“ he said. “Probably seven or eight acres we’re utilizing at the moment. The thing is, if you come out here and you sign that waiver and you’re a member, you’re welcome to use anything.

“We’re trying to incorporate more defined trails and things of that sort. Climb rocks. Go to the track. Whatever you want to do.“

He takes pride in offering “a diverse group of layouts” and is using funds from the memberships to expand what will be available in the future.

“There are all sorts of different things for people to do,“ he said. “Different challenges. What I’m trying to create is like when you go snow skiing. You have a beginner, intermediate and expert course. We’ve tried to incorporate the same thing with R/C. We have a beginner area if you’re a novice. Intermediate is a little tougher. Of course, we have the expert, and we’ll see how well you can run with it.

“That’s what we’ve tried to put together. It makes it nice.“

The Ingram family has 31 R/C cars and trucks.

There are places where enthusiasts who may have trouble walking can be taken to enjoy running their vehicles.

“I can get you here,“ Ingram said. “We can sit you down, down there, and you can sit there and run all over this hillside. You don’t have to worry about walking.“

Right now there are no scheduled hours, but members can go at any time. Open-run days with a fee of $10-$15 are available for people to determine if they are interested in becoming members. Individual and family plans are offered.

Brian Osbourne of Mannington is working with Ingram in developing the area to run the R/C vehicles.

“It’s the cheapest form of racing you can get into,“ he said. “We’ve got a lot of race people around. It’s a true family sport. My entire family including my wife and my two kids — both have R/C cars — does some traveling and racing at different tracks. It’s nice to have something in our backyard.“

His interest began when his son got an R/C vehicle for his birthday.

“We just started playing with it, and it grew out of that,“ Osbourne said. “We got one for the whole family. Now I’ve got 15 or 16.“

He’s enjoying working “hand-in-hand” with Ingram in developing the area to run R/C vehicles.

“If we come up with an idea, we put it in place,“ Osbourne said. “We’re trying to make it a nice place for families. That’s what we’re wanting to do.“

R/C racing, Osbourne noted, goes up to professional levels where people “travel all over the world and make thousands of dollars at races. It’s a lot bigger in the world than it has been in our area. It’s really just now starting to catch on.“

Hobby-grade R/C cars and trucks “are miniature vehicles — springs, shocks. It’s just like a real car,“ Osbourne said.

All the parts can be replaced.

“You can make one large investment, which is not too big, and that car can be upgraded to go faster,“ Osbourne said.

Tim Ingram’s son, Brody, a junior at Bridgeport High School, helped get his dad involved with the R/C vehicles.

“It started out as a hobby,“ he said. “I guess all hobbies lead to big things.“

A big attraction is meeting people who enjoy the activity and its challenges.

“It kind of gives freedom,“ he said of the time spent in the woods. “Everyone that you meet is always nice. It’s fun to do.“

It can be a high-tech adventure for those who get into the hobby very seriously.

“It’s very high-tech,“ he said. “They entail a lot of technology, but it’s just a blast. It’s fun to be with everyone and do all this kind of stuff. You definitely learn a lot. You learn something new every time you come out. Somebody knows something about your car that you didn’t and how to change something.

“It’s crazy all the stuff you can do with them. I’d love to keep going with it. It’s definitely fun.“

Tim Ingram said he and his staff are committed to helping enthusiasts as much as possible.

“We have a knowledgeable staff that’s right there available to help you,“ he said. “Not to say they’re going to know the answer to every question; however, if we can maintain a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere along with the customer service, I think we can be successful.“

An R/C vehicle — whether electric, nitro or gasoline — can involve some complicated issues. The smallest scale is 1/24, but the most popular, according to Ingram, is 1/10.

“We have the 1/5 scale, which are usually two-stroke gasoline,“ he said. “They have a regular engine in them. You mix oil and gas to run them, and they’ll run 40-45 mph and weigh anywhere from 35 to 45 pounds. They come in two-wheel-drive versions and four-wheel-drive versions.“

Serious enthusiasts enjoy working on the cars and trucks to get the most out of their experience.

“It’s almost a machine,“ Ingram said. “It’s a sophisticated, technical toy, if you still want to use the terminology ‘toy,‘ but I’m not sure that’s the proper word for it because it’s so much more than a toy. People win money racing these. They hold events. There are all sorts of different avenues to go down as far as what you can get into with these things. The sky is the limit, basically.“

It’s a much more affordable hobby than, for example, motocross, which requires thousands of dollars for a motorcycle or ATV. It’s common, though, Ingram noted, to see motocross people at R/C events and vice versa.

“You can get into one of these cars for $170 to $1,000 and up,“ Ingram said. “It’s able to bring people together for a fun, affordable hobby.“

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►   Loans available to businesses impacted by weather

CHARLESTON, WV — Small businesses in West Virginia that have been impacted by bad weather may be able to get financial assistance from the federal government.

The U.S. Small Business Association says economic injury disaster loans are available for certain small businesses, small agriculture cooperatives, aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit groups. The businesses must be located in Cabell, Hancock, Jackson, Marshall, Mason, Ohio, Pleasants, Tyler, Wayne, Wetzel and Wood Counties.
Elkins motorsports

The administration hopes to help offset financial losses that resulted from the excessive rain, flooding, heating, landslides, mudslides, high winds, hail and lightning that impacted parts of West Virginia between March and August.

For more information click H E R E.

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