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GSC Athletics Partners With BSN SPORTS and Nike

The Free Press WV

Glenville State College Director of Athletics Marcal Lazenby would like to announce that the athletic department has signed a contract with the BSN SPORTS Rewards Program corporate sponsorship agreement to make Nike the preferred and exclusive uniform/apparel and footwear provider for the Pioneers.

With the agreement, all athletic teams, coaches, and staff will exclusively wear Nike uniforms and footwear. “We are thrilled to partner with BSN to become an exclusive Nike apparel school,“ stated Lazenby. “The Nike swoosh is the most recognizable and prestigious brand in the sports world. This agreement with Nike allows us to further our brand.“ BSN SPORTS is the largest distributor of team sports apparel and equipment in the United States.

“On behalf of everyone at BSN SPORTS, we are thrilled to partner with Nike and Glenville State College providing their student athletes, coaching staff and fans with the finest apparel and athletic products,“  Terry Babilla, BSN SPORTS President commented.  “We look forward to continuing our ongoing relationship with Glenville State athletics for many years to come and wish them continued success in Mountain East Conference and throughout all NCAA activities.“

The GSC Athletic Department is excited to partner with BSN SPORTS and to officially become a part of the Nike family.

WV Lawmakers Make Progress on Needed Revenue

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Legislature is getting closer to securing the revenue the state needs. But Ted Boettner, executive director with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, says lawmakers aren’t there yet.

Bills have passed in the House and Senate that would increase state revenue by as much as $150 million, mostly through raising and expanding the sales tax. But Boettner said they’re still $100 million short for this fiscal year - and even more for next year.

“There is a tremendous amount of unfinished business. If they don’t address it this year, it’s highly unlikely they will next year during an election year,” Boettner said. “And at that point you’re going to talk about major cuts to Medicaid, closing down several universities.“

Boettner said next year’s shortfall could be $140 million, depending on new revenue forecasts due this week. Some lawmakers have called for many more cuts to balance the budget. But Boettner noted that after years of budget tightening, even the Legislature has been unable to come up with enough politically viable cuts to close the gap.

Lawmakers are due back in Charleston on Tuesday.

With the revenue bills that look likely to pass, the state’s budget crisis seems to be approaching a more manageable level. And Boettner said he’s pleased the House is firmly opposed to what he called the “foolish plan” to phase out the state income tax when the state is running in the red.

Senate leaders had argued that enough revenue would come from additional growth sparked by the tax cuts to make up for the losses. But Boettner said House leaders recognized that as a false hope.

“Fortunately, the House rejected the Senate’s offer to cut the income tax by 20 percent and repeal it. The House would like to instead focus on the sales tax,” he said.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy has long argued that the state should raise the taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks. But Boettner said that doesn’t seem likely now.

“But when it comes to soda and cigarettes, unfortunately they haven’t looked upon those again to raise,” he said. “But that would be a step in the right direction that would not only bring in revenue, but also improve our state’s health.“

The governor has yet to add the budget to the list of items that can be discussed during the current special session. Right now, discussions are limited to the revenue side.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Announcing the 2017 National Service and Civic Engagement Research Grant Competition

The Free Press WV

The Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) is announcing the 2017 National Service and Civic Engagement Research Competition.

CNCS is seeking applications that build on existing research in the field, address gaps in knowledge, and provide new ideas and methodological approaches to the study of civic infrastructure, civic engagement, volunteering, national service, and other related concepts such as social capital.

The competition is only open to accredited institutions of higher education and is funding research for dissertators and scholars.

Applications are due July 11, 2017, no later than 5:00 pm EST.

Please use this link below to access the full Notice of Funding Availability and Application Instructions: https://www.nationalservice.gov/national-service-and-civic-engagement-research-2017


CNCS

The mission of CNCS is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.  Through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Volunteer Generation Fund, CNCS has helped to engage millions of citizens in meeting community and national challenges through service and volunteer action.

CNCS has a strong belief in the importance of scholarly research in order to identify effective strategies for national service and increase the evidence-base for its programs, as well as to increase the nation’s understanding and knowledge about the importance and potential of strengthening civic infrastructure and increasing civic engagement in America.


Eligible Applicants

This competition is only open to accredited institutions of higher education. The institution of higher education (the legal applicant for this competition) will submit an application from a “Program Director” (i.e., Principal Investigator).


Funding Categories

CNCS anticipates funding projects in two categories: Dissertation and Scholars. Dissertation Category targets research that may support doctoral dissertations. The Dissertator must have completed their Ph.D. coursework and passed qualifying exams and achieved All But Dissertation (ABD) status by October 01, 2017. Scholar Category targets established academics, researchers, and postdoctoral researchers, with a proven track record and standing in their respective fields.


Activities to be Funded

  • Research including instrument development, data collection, analysis and reporting
  • Dissemination of results, including reports, publications, and presentations
  • Collaboration with practitioners and policymakers to apply and use results from research findings to support their work with communities, volunteers and/or national service participants

Funding Priorities

CNCS seeks to support research in three broad areas of equal priority.


1) How are civic infrastructure and civic engagement defined, measured, developed and hindered?

CNCS is soliciting innovative qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research studies that can explore how civic infrastructure and civic engagement, and related concepts, such as social cohesion and social capital, are defined, measured, developed or hindered at the community and neighborhood level. These studies can be conceptual as well as empirical. ORE is particularly interested in studies that use participatory research with community residents and stakeholders in local communities.


2)  How does an individual’s civic engagement change over the course of a lifetime?

CNCS is seeking qualitative, quantitative or multimethod research that can explore motivations for becoming engaged, types of civic engagement either informal, formal or both, and outcomes of civic engagement over the life course.


3) What are the impacts associated with civic engagement, volunteering, or national service?

CNCS is interested in studies that address outcomes associated with civic engagement, volunteering, and national service for individuals, families and communities.  Though exploratory studies will receive consideration, CNCS prefers projects in this priority area that are confirmatory and testing hypotheses that can provide causal evidence. We are also interested in Return on Investment or Cost-Benefit studies.


Application Deadline

A Letter of Intent is due June 09, 2017 no later than 5:00 pm EST.  A Letter of Intent is not required for this competition, but strongly encouraged. Please refer to the Notice for instructions.

Applications are due July 11, 2017, no later than 5:00 pm EST.

Notice of Funding Availability (PDF)


Application Instructions (PDF)

A Technical Assistance call will be held on May 25, 2017 at 1 pm Eastern time.

The call will provide a general overview of the Funding Availability and allow time for questions from potential applicants.  The call-in number is 877.918.5751, and you must enter passcode 2129912. Note: you will be asked to review the Notice of Funding Availability and Application Instructions prior to joining the call. 

All calls will be recorded, and the replay number for the call is: 800.945.3639. The replay will be available following the call, through July 16, 2015.​

Spring Oil, Gas Meeting

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association Spring Meeting took place May 15-17 at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling.

The event included presentations from industry representatives and government leaders about the future of oil and gas in West Virginia, legal and regulatory updates and news from WVONGA committees.

Anne Blankenship, executive director of WVONGA, led a discussion on “Shale Insight — A Continuing Partnership” with Robert Petrilli, vice president, MSC, and Shawn Bennett, president, Ohio Oil and Gas Association.

“The oil and natural gas industry is an economic driver in this state and has the potential to grow even more significantly over the coming years and decades,” Blankenship said.

“The spring meeting is an opportunity for our members to come together to learn about what’s happening in the industry both in West Virginia and nationally.”

Blankenship said the conference offered more than 20 expert presenters covering topics ranging from production and midstream development to legislative dynamics and pipeline regulation, among other items.

Huge Cuts to Food Stamps Part of Trump’s Budget Proposal

The Free Press WV

Donald Trump’s budget would drive millions of people off of food stamps, part of a new wave of spending cut proposals that already are getting panned by lawmakers in both parties on Capitol Hill.

Trump’s blueprint for the 2018 budget year comes out Tuesday. It includes a wave of cuts to benefit programs such as Medicaid, federal employee pensions, welfare benefits and farm subsidies.

All told, according to people familiar with the plan, Trump’s budget includes $1.7 trillion over 10 years in cuts from such so-called mandatory programs. That includes cuts to pensions for federal workers and higher contributions toward those pension benefits, as well as cuts to refundable tax credits paid to the working poor. People familiar with the plan were not authorized to discuss it by name and requested anonymity.

Cuts include a whopping $193 billion from food stamps over the coming decade — a cut of more than 25 percent — implemented by cutting back eligibility and imposing additional work requirements, according to talking points circulated by the White House. The program presently serves about 42 million people.

The food stamp cuts are several times larger than those attempted by House Republicans a few years back and comprise the bulk of a 10-year, $274 billion proposal that’s labeled as welfare reform.

The fleshed-out proposal follows up on an unpopular partial release in March that targeted the budgets of domestic agencies and foreign aid for cuts averaging 10 percent — and made lawmakers in both parties recoil.

The new cuts are unpopular as well.

“We think it’s wrongheaded,“ said Representaive Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, when asked about looming cuts to farm programs. “Production agriculture is in the worst slump since the depression — 50 percent drop in the net income for producers. They need this safety net,“ said Conaway, R-Texas.

Trump’s budget plan promises to balance the federal ledger by the end of a 10-year window, even while exempting Social Security and Medicare retirement benefits from cuts. To achieve balance, the plan by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney relies on optimistic estimates of economic growth, and the surge in revenues that would result, while abandoning Trump’s promise of a “massive tax cut.“

Instead, the Trump tax plan promises an overhaul that would cut tax rates but rely on erasing tax breaks and economic growth to end up as “revenue neutral.“ It would create three tax brackets — 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent — instead of the current seven.

Trump is also targeting the Medicaid health program that provides care to the poor and disabled, and nursing home care to millions of older people who could not otherwise afford it.

The House had a bitter debate on health care before a razor-thin 217-213 passage in early May of a GOP health bill that included more than $800 billion in Medicaid cuts over the coming decade. Key Republicans are not interested in another round of cuts to the program.

“I would think that the health care bill is our best policy statement on Medicaid going forward,“ said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the program.

Details on Trump’s budget will not be publicly released until Tuesday, but Mulvaney has briefed Republicans about what’s coming and his staff has provided targeted leaks to the media.

A full budget submission by the administration to Congress is months overdue and follows the release two months ago of an outline for the discretionary portion of the budget, covering defense, education, foreign aid, housing and environmental programs, among others. Their budgets pass each year through annual appropriations bills.

An earlier blueprint from Trump proposed a $54 billion, 10 percent increase for the military above an existing cap on Pentagon spending, financed by an equal cut to nondefense programs. Those cuts rang alarm bells for many Republicans, who were particularly upset about proposals to eliminate community development block grants, slash medical research and eviscerate foreign aid.

Trump’s GOP allies rejected such cuts when wrapping up long-overdue legislation for the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. There’s little sign they will have a change of heart now, especially with Trump’s administration in turmoil and his poll ratings at historic lows.

“The budget’s a starting point. We’ll go to work from there,“ said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Republicans controlling Congress have delayed action on their companion budget measure, waiting for Trump to go first. This year’s budget debate, Republicans hope, would grease the way for a major overhaul of the loophole-cluttered tax system. But House conservatives also want to embark on a round of cuts to benefit programs and are open to Trump’s suggestions for cuts to mandatory programs such as federal employee pensions.

Presidential budgets are mere suggestions, and the White House has discretion to assume higher economic growth rates of up to 3 percent or so under Trump’s agenda of tax changes, loosened regulations and infrastructure spending.

Tuesday’s budget will also include proposals such as paid leave for parents after the birth or adoption of a child, a $200 billion infrastructure plan that Trump officials claim could leverage, along with private investment, up to $1 trillion in construction projects, and funding for Trump’s oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The budget contains $1.6 billion for wall construction, along with $300 million for additional border patrol and immigration agents as part of a $2.6 billion hike for border security programs.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • Dirty money is more real than you thought. Here’s how gross cash really is:  Studies have long shown that money is pretty damn gross. Scientists have found all kinds of icky stuff on our cash, from mold to the flu virus to feces and even cocaine, making the recent Scientific American argument to go cashless even more inviting. A new paper has found that the bacteria on money might be even more dangerous than we thought.  MIC


  • “They’re ########### it.”  A Bureau of Prisons education specialist hired last year to help ease federal prisoner re-entry reportedly has been fired but it’s unclear who authorized the termination. The Justice Department says it has no information about the job status of Amy Lopez and referred reporters to the BOP, which said it had no announcements to make. The Obama administration sought to expand education programs; current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long been skeptical of such efforts.    Huffington Post


  • Joe Lieberman, gutless weasel.  He’d be Trump’s perfect patsy at the FBI if nominated and confirmed.    New York Magazine


  • Trump and Congress can block Mueller.  I know. I wrote the rules.  The Washington Post

  • Forget Watergate, think Iran-Contra.  The New York Times


  • Leaked Facebook Content Guidelines Raise Eyebrows:  But is the manual in control? Leaked rulebooks for Facebook’s content managers, who must wade through posts from the site’s nearly 2 billion users, reveal a complicated soup of dos and don’ts. The social network has to balance its identity as a tech company with that of a media company, keeping censorship from overwhelming free expression while dealing with an increasing number of disturbing incidents, like murders and other crimes streamed live. Meanwhile, Facebook points to overwhelmed moderators for high-profile errors when it comes to deleting or censoring content unnecessarily.    The Verge


  • Trump Orb Photo Sends Internet Meme-Crazy:  All hail the orb. A photo of Trump and his Egyptian and Saudi counterparts grasping an illuminated globe at the launch of Riyadh’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology went viral, with Twitter users comparing them to villains from Superman and Lord of the Rings. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and UAE have pledged $100 million to Ivanka Trump’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund, despite concerns that her White House post could influence policy toward the donor countries. Critics also observed how the president lambasted the Clinton Foundation last year for accepting Saudi contributions.    The Hill

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV

EXPLOSION AT CONCERT BEING TREATED AS TERROR ATTACK

The blast at an arena in northern England during an Ariana Grande show kills at least 19 people and injures dozens. The singer is unhurt.


TRUMP OPENS FIRST VISIT TO ISRAEL

The president says he sees a growing recognition among Muslim nations that they share a “common cause” with Israel in countering threats posed by Iran.


FLYNN REBUFFS CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENA

Trump’s former national security adviser invokes his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the investigation into Russia’s election meddling.


TRUMP’S BUDGET RELIES ON DEEP DOMESTIC CUTS

Included in the president’s $4.1 trillion proposal are huge cuts to food stamps.


JURY SELECTION UNDERWAY IN BILL COSBY’S TRIAL

The panel that will decide the sex assault case begins to take shape with the selection of five jurors, three white men and two white women.


WHERE PROTESTS ARE GROWING MORE HOSTILE

Capping a violent day in Venezuela, demonstrators set fire to the late President Hugo Chavez’s childhood home in the western part of the country, a lawmaker says.


SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN VOTING DISTRICTS

The justices declare that race played too large a role in the creation of two congressional districts in North Carolina.


WHAT’S ROILING WORLD OF DRUG TREATMENT

Remarks by a top U.S. health official reignite a quarrel: Does treating opioid addiction with medication save lives? Or does it trade one addiction for another?


SLAYING PROBED AS POSSIBLE HATE CRIME

A prosecutor asks for patience as authorities investigate the stabbing of a black Army officer, allegedly by a white student, on the University of Maryland campus.


WHO’S OMNIPRESENT AT CANNES

Nicole Kidman has four films at the festival, unveiling a new chapter in her already-considerable acting career.


SoftBank’s Vision Fund is officially the world’s biggest private equity fund after it announced it had closed $93 billion

The extra $7 billion, bringing the fund’s total to $100 billion, is expected to close in the next six months.


Tinder’s VP of product is leaving the company

Ankur Jain joined the online-dating behemoth a year ago when it purchased his startup.


Ev Williams, who co-founded Twitter, more-or-less apologized for the site’s role in Donald Trump’s electoral win

“It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that,“ Williams said in an interview with the New York Times. “If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.“


Leaked Facebook documents show just how much users can get away with posting

Suicide attempts and videos of animals being abused are permitted.


DeepMind and the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust are yet to specify another legal basis for their first deal

The deal was deemed legally inappropriate by the National Data Guardian in a leaked letter that dates back to February.


Swedish prosecutors said on they would drop a preliminary investigation into an allegation of rape against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

It brings an end to an epic seven-year legal stand-off.


The CEO of Jeremy Clarkson’s social network for cars has left just six months after the website launched

His name is Ernesto Schmitt and the website is called Drive Tribe.


Uber has started to charge riders a premium based on where they’re traveling

Uber generally determines pricing by taking into account a trip’s distance and duration as well as the level of demand in the area in which it originated. Now, though, it’s charging extra to certain customers who travel along particular high-demand routes.


A study found venture capitalists talk about women entrepreneurs much more negatively than male entrepreneurs

Youth and enthusiasm were seen as positive attributes for men, but a sign of inexperience in women.


Instagram and Snapchat were ranked the worst apps for children’s mental health

Anxiety, depression, and loneliness were all cited as negative impacts.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  Science Says: Medications Prevent Opioid Addiction Relapse

Remarks by a top U.S. health official have reignited a quarrel in the world of addiction and recovery: Does treating opioid addiction with medication save lives? Or does it trade one addiction for another?

Health Secretary Tom Price’s recent comments — one replying to a reporter’s question, the other in a newspaper op-ed — waver between two strongly held views.

Medication-assisted treatment, known as MAT, is backed by doctors. Yet it still has skeptics, especially among supporters of 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous, because it involves opioid-based medications.

Price appeared to side with that camp when he said during a recent visit to Charleston, West Virginia: “If we just simply substitute buprenorphine or methadone or some other opioid-type medication for the opioid addiction, then we haven’t moved the dial much.“

But in an opinion piece published last week in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, he twice mentioned his agency’s support for medication-assisted treatment. Here’s a closer look.


HOW MEDICATION CAN TREAT ADDICTION

Because of how opioids act on the brain , people dependent on them get sick if they stop using. Withdrawal can feel like a bad flu with cramping, sweating, anxiety and sleeplessness. Cravings for the drug can be so intense that relapse is common.

Medication-assisted treatment helps by moving a patient from powerful painkillers or an illicit opioid like heroin to a regular dose of a legal opioid-based medication such as buprenorphine or methadone. The ideal dose is big enough to fend off withdrawal, but too small to produce a euphoric high. Patients can drive, rebuild relationships and get back to work.

“They’re not walking around high” and it gives them the chance to practice new ways of coping with family and psychological issues, said Dr. Joseph Garbely of Pennsylvania-based Caron Treatment Centers.

With counseling and education about addiction, patients can get back on track. They eventually can taper off medications, but some take them for years.


WHAT RESEARCH SAYS

Researchers studying these treatments use drug screening to see whether patients are staying off illegal drugs. If someone uses heroin while in treatment, it shows up in their urine.

A 2014 review of 31 studies found methadone and buprenorphine keep people in treatment and off illicit drugs.

The review by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international group of scientists that evaluates research, found each drug worked better than a dummy medication. A side benefit worth noting: Methadone also helps prevent the spread of HIV by reducing needle sharing, a different research review by Cochrane found.

Methadone and buprenorphine can be abused and both can cause overdoses, particularly methadone. But researchers have found that methadone prevents more overdose deaths than it causes.

For most patients, medication combined with counseling is superior to other strategies, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.


OTHER OPTIONS

“What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another person,“ Price said during a May 9 visit to West Virginia.

When asked whether he and his team leaned toward medication or faith-based approaches to opioid addiction, his reply lined up with those who favor abstinence.

Abstinence-only philosophies “are not scientifically supported,“ according to the first surgeon general’s report on addiction, published in November.

Yet people who describe themselves as in recovery consistently say abstinence is important. All told, remission from opioid addiction can take years and multiple tries at treatment.

“The public needs to know that there are proven, effective treatments for opioid addiction,“ former U.S. General Vivek Murthy told The Associated Press. Murthy was fired by the Trump administration after he refused to resign.

Price also mentioned a non-opioid alternative — namely an injection of naltrexone called Vivitrol — as “exciting stuff.“ Vivitrol, a newer drug, can be used only with patients who have completely detoxed and has a limited track record compared to buprenorphine and methadone. Early studies have shown promise, but relapse is a danger after injections stop.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Alleigh Marre told AP that Price’s comments don’t signal a policy change. Price “has argued that we should be open and supportive to the broadest range of options, from medication-assisted treatments - including methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone - to faith-based recovery programs,“ Marre said.

Not informing patients about the effectiveness of treating addiction with medication is like a doctor not telling a cancer patient about chemotherapy, said Dr. Mark Willenbring, a former director of treatment research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Scientifically, this is a settled matter.“


►  Federal Committee Examining Health Risks From Surface Mines

A federal science committee studying the health risks for people living near surface coal mines has scheduled a public meeting this week in southern West Virginia.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee plans to hear from state health and environmental officials, coal operators and environmental groups at a panel discussion Tuesday in Logan.

A Town Hall session is scheduled later Tuesday.

The panel is examining four states in central Appalachia, also including Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and planned to visit a mine site Monday.

Citizens groups that oppose the large surface mines, sometimes called mountaintop removal coal mining, say they’re urging members to speak up at the Tuesday session.


►  West Virginia University Receives $402K to Help Rural Areas

The federal government has awarded more than $400,000 to West Virginia University to improve sustainable agriculture and help rural communities thrive.

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced the $402,890 award in a news release this month.

Manchin said the university, through its Extension Services program, invests in rural communities across the state, creating a great benefit for West Virginia.

Capito said the resources will allow the university to continue its work assisting rural West Virginia.

The funding is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Institute of Food and Agriculture.


►  WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS:  Champ set to return

Golf champion John Daly, 51, is permitted to compete in the Greenbrier Classic July 03-09. This will be his seventh appearance on The Old White TPC Course, where the PGA Tour FedExCup Tournament stops for The Greenbrier Classic.

Daly has been part of the Classic since its start in 2010 and finished in a tie for 12th in 2012.

He is a five-time PGA Tour winner, who earned the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 Open Championship. Daly is well known for his style of play and his “loud” clothing.

Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson also will be heading to The Greenbrier this summer for the tournament.

Mickelson started with The Greenbrier team as The Greenbrier PGA Tour Ambassador in 2016 and will participate in the Classic for the fourth time.

Watson will also be making his fourth appearance in The Greenbrier Classic.

Each time Watson has played, his finish has improved.

In 2013, he finished the course 5-under-par and tied for 30th. The next year, he moved up to a tie for 16th in 2014.


►  Blankenship asks Trump to ease up

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship reached out to Donald Trump to block attempts in Congress to increase criminal penalties for coal executives who prosecute mine safety and health standards.

Blankenship, who is now out of federal prison, also asked Trump in a letter to look over a federal investigation into the country’s worst coal mining disaster in four decades.

The former executive served a year in prison for a misdemeanor conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, among others have made efforts without success to pass legislation to toughen consequences on mine safety crimes.


►  In-state tuition approved for West Virginia University at Parkersburg

West Virginia University at Parkersburg will offer in-state tuition to all students accepted into its three online baccalaureate degree programs.

Those programs are: Bachelor of Applied Science in Child Development, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervisory Management.

WVU Parkersburg has the lowest bachelor degree tuition in the state and is ranked among the top 50 more affordable four-year colleges in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In April, the school’s Board of Governors voted to permit students from across the country to register in the three programs at the same price as in-state students starting with the 2017-2018 academic year. The new rates will decrease tuition costs for out-of-state students pursing one of these degrees by an estimated 40 percent.


►  WV Scholar Program finalists named

West Virginia Wesleyan has named 10 finalists in the 10th annual MetroNews West Virginia Scholar Program.

The students, all juniors, are from across the state. The winner will be announced at the 2017 WV Scholar Award Luncheon at Wesleyan on June 21.

The grand prize includes tuition, fees, room and board at the Buckhannon-based school valued at $160,000.

The following students were named Monday as finalists:

Kylee Casto                        Ripley High School

Presley Fisher                    Ripley High School

Chloe Hibbs                        Hampshire High School

Madison Martin                Winfield High School

Sydney Maxwell               Buckhannon-Upshur High School

Madisen Miles                 Robert C. Byrd High School

River Myers                        Richwood High School

Uriah Myers                       Richwood High School

Christopher Neil               Ripley High School

Baylee Senator                 Chapmanville high School

You can vote for your favorite finalist by clicking on to the Scholar Program icon at wvmetronews.com. Those interested will be able to watch a short video of each finalist and listen to audio recordings from their parents. The vote totals will equal about 10 percent of the final overall score. Only one vote per IP address is counted.

Second prize is a four-year, $5,000 scholarship, while third prize is a four-year, $2,500 scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan. All of the awards begin with the 2018 fall semester.

In addition to MetroNews and West Virginia Wesleyan, the sponsors for the 2017 MetroNews West Virginia Scholar Program are the West Virginia Hospital Association, ZMM Architects and Engineers, the West Virginia Forestry Association, Jim Goolsby and Ed Stike with RBC Wealth Management, the West Virginia Farm Bureau and Friends of Coal.


►  Drug Company Probing Lawsuit Allegations at Union’s Request

At a union’s request, a California-based drug wholesaler is looking into allegations in a 2016 lawsuit that the company flooded West Virginia with prescription pain pills.

McKesson Corp. spokeswoman Kristin Hunter said the San Francisco-based company appointed a committee to review issues raised by the Teamsters union, which has pension and benefit funds that invest in McKesson.

The committee has hired a Palo Alto, California, law firm. According to a May 11 letter to Teamsters Local 175 President Ken Hall in South Charleston, the law firm has agreed to meet with Teamsters officials.

According to a lawsuit filed by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, McKesson awarded bonuses and commissions to sales managers while “West Virginia was drowning” in millions of doses of addictive painkillers.

In USA….

The Free Press WV


►  Appeals court strikes down FAA drone registration rule

An appeals court on Friday struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule that required owners of drones used for recreation to register their craft.

The ruling was a victory for hobbyists and a setback for the FAA, which cited safety concerns as it tried to tighten regulation of the fast-growing army of drone operators.

Some pilots of commercial airliners have reported close calls with drones flying near airports.

About 760,000 hobbyists have registered more than 1.6 million drones since 2015, and sales have skyrocketed. The FAA estimates that hobbyists will buy 2.3 million drones this year and 13 million by the end of 2020. Commercial operators from photographers to oil pipeline and cellphone tower owners were forecast to buy another 10 million through 2020.

The FAA decided in 2015 to require hobbyists to register their drones, or model aircraft. Violators could be sentenced to prison.

The registration requirement was challenged by John A. Taylor, a drone hobbyist in the Washington, D.C., area.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with Taylor, saying that a law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2012 barred the FAA from imposing new regulations on model aircraft.

The three-judge panel said that safety was obviously important and making hobbyists register “may well help further that goal to some degree,“ but it was up to Congress to repeal the ban on FAA rules for model aircraft.

A spokesman for the FAA said the agency was reviewing the decision.

The ruling demonstrated the schism in the drone world. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, whose members include big commercial drone operators and manufacturers, expressed disappointment with the court’s ruling. The group’s president, Brian Wynne, said registration “helps create a culture of safety that deters careless and reckless behavior.“ He vowed to seek a legislative fix in Congress.

A lawyer for China’s DJI, the world’s biggest drone maker, said registration was reasonable and fostered “accountability and education to drone pilots.“ Brendan Schulman said he expected more discussion between industry and governments over the program.

Some model aircraft enthusiasts had complained that the registration requirement was too burdensome.

“On balance this is probably a good thing,“ said Vic Moss, a commercial photographer and drone operator in Colorado. “The FAA definitely overstepped their boundaries with the registration, and the fact that they called it an emergency action didn’t help them look good.“

Moss was worried, however, that the issue was so contentious that the FAA might successfully lobby Congress for clear authority to regulate hobbyists.

Registration cost $5 and had to be renewed every three years. It required owners to mark aircraft with an identification number and imposed civil and criminal penalties on those who did not comply.

Taylor also challenged FAA restrictions on where drones can operate in the Washington area. The court said that appeal was filed too late.


►  Is this the future of college: Online classes, but no degree

Connor Mitchell’s university classes take place online, he doesn’t have any exams and he studies in a different country every year.

Is he looking into the future or taking a gamble?

With college costs rising steadily and with more courses available online for free, some observers are beginning to question the need for a traditional college education that may include lectures on Greek philosophy but burden students with massive debt.

Education startups are offering alternatives — from boot camps, to one- or two-year tracks, to accredited degree programs — and their founders say these options will give students a more relevant education in today’s job market, and at a lower price.

But some experts caution against betting on a narrow, practical education geared toward a specific field that is in demand today but could leave them unprepared for the jobs of tomorrow. They also say most applicants still need a college degree from an established institution to get a good job.

Minerva, an accredited four-year university named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, wants to reinvent elite four-year liberal arts education by teaching critical thinking as opposed to “regurgitating information,“ founder Ben Nelson said.

“You cannot teach yourself how to think critically, you actually have to go through a structured process,“ said Nelson, an energetic, fast-talking 41-year-old, who previously served as president of the photo printing website Snapfish. “What is sad is that wisdom is wasted on the old. Wisdom should be the tool for the young.“

All of Minerva’s classes take place online. The interactive platform is designed to keeps student engaged and allow professors to call on them. Minerva students start school in San Francisco and then spend time in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Taipei, Taiwan, and other global hubs, continuing to take online classes and completing hands-on assignments at local companies and organizations.

Cost is $29,000 per year for tuition plus room and board, compared with an average of $20,000 for an in-state public college and $63,000 at Harvard, with which Minerva says it wants to compete. This year, Minerva, boasted an acceptance rate of 1.9 percent, compared with 5.2 percent at Harvard. The nationwide average in 2014 was 66 percent, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

The first class launched in 2014, so it is too early to evaluate graduation and employment rates. Nelson said every single first-year student who chose to work last summer was placed in an internship. Currently, there are over 270 people enrolled at the school.

Mitchell, 21, who transferred to Minerva from the University of Southern California, says the online class experience was stressful at first, but he was impressed by the level of discussion and preparation for the classes. At USC, he said he studied “so much less.“ When asked to compare the two, he turned to a metaphor.

“At the USC steakhouse it was the sides, the things that I did outside of the classroom that were really valuable. The steak actually wasn’t prepared very well,“ Mitchell said. “At Minerva, the steak that I am paying for is cut perfectly.“

Not everybody is convinced.

Some question Minerva’s ability to teach science without labs or test tubes and believe that academic research requires the space and environment afforded by traditional universities.

Peter Cappelli, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who studies the U.S. labor market, believes that students may be taking a big risk by signing up for a still relatively unknown program.

“It’s not what you learn, it’s what you can persuade other people what you’ve learned,“ Cappelli said. “It’s hard to overcome that risk until the schools build up a brand on the market.“

But some innovators say a college degree may be obsolete.

MissionU, which began accepting its first applications last month, offers a one-year nondegree program in data analytics and business intelligence without an upfront tuition. As part of an income-sharing agreement, MissionU students will give back 15 percent of their salary for three years after graduation if they earn at least $50,000 per year. So far, the school received over 3,000 applications.

Students will be taking online courses taught by industry practitioners and completing real-life projects and assignments for various companies. Partner firms such as Spotify, Lyft, Warby Parker and others are advising MissionU on its curriculum and have agreed to consider its students for jobs without a college degree. The first group of students will be based in San Francisco. A high-school diploma will not be required for admission.

“Just because you can prepare well for a test doesn’t mean that you will necessarily thrive as a contributor to a great company,“ said MissionU founder Adam Braun.

Braun, 33, decided to create MissionU after seeing his wife struggle to pay off more than $100,000 in student debt.

“I came to the firm belief that our college system is fundamentally broken and it’s not working for the majority of young people who are going to college to build a better life and career,“ said Braun, who previously founded Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit that builds schools in the developing world.

Some employers agree that traditional university education may not be as relevant in today’s economy as it once was. Google has dropped college education from its hiring requirements, and a company official said in a 2013 interview with The New York Times that up to 14 percent of employees on some of their teams had never gone to college. The British office of Ernst & Young has also stopped requiring college diplomas.

But will other companies follow suit?

Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, is not so sure.

“You’ve got to have something that proves to the people that are going to hire that you can do the job,“ Carnevale said. “Given the fluidity of the job market, it’s strangers talking to strangers, so you got to have a piece of paper. It’s a signal, it’s a proof.“

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►  Ark bearing popular Saint Nicholas’ relics come to Moscow

Relics of Saint Nicholas, one of the Russian Orthodox Church’s most revered figures, arrived in Moscow on Sunday from an Italian church where they have lain for 930 years. Intense media coverage accompanied the arrival, underlining the church’s influence in post-Soviet Russia.

After reaching Vnukovo airport, a glass-topped metallic ark bearing one of the saint’s ribs was visited by a long stream of pilgrims who bowed and kissed the container. It was then taken to Christ the Savior Cathedral, the enormous Moscow church that is a reconstruction of a cathedral dynamited in 1931 by officially atheistic Soviet authorities.

The relics are to be moved to St. Petersburg in mid-June before being returned a month later to the church in Bari, Italy, where they have been kept since 1087. Large crowds of Orthodox faithful are expected to visit the relics in Russia.

An agreement to send the relics to Russia was made last year between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill during the first meeting of the heads of the Russian and Roman Catholic churches.

At the cathedral, Kirill said Nicholas is credited with many miracles and “with the deliverance of the Fatherland and our people from many, many historical catastrophes.“

Nicholas, who is known in the Russian church as Nikolai Chudotvorets (the Miracle-worker), was the Bishop of Myra, now the Turkish city of Demre. He is revered for reports of his generosity.

One story attached to him is that he provided gold coins as dowries to three daughters of a poor man who worried that they would remain unmarried and fall into disrepute. According to some versions of the story, the coins were thrown through a window and landed in stockings hanging up to dry.

The story is the precursor of the Christmas tradition of children hanging stockings to receive gifts; the name Santa Claus is a variant of Saint Nicholas.

Among the miracles attributed to him is that he persuaded merchants to unload grain from a ship to feed a town suffering from famine and that the grain was replenished when the ship reached its final port.

State TV news channel Rossiya-24 devoted hours of live coverage to the departure of the relics from Bari and their arrival in Moscow, at one point showing split-screen shots of the plane taxiing at the airports in both cities.

Although Russia officially is secular, the moral authority of the Orthodox Church has grown steadily under President Vladimir Putin, who sides with the church in promoting traditional family values. The church’s opposition to gay rights is seen as a driver of Russia’s law banning dissemination of so-called gay “propaganda” to minors.

Orthodox activists have forced the closure of some art exhibitions and last year succeeded in banning a provincial theater’s planned production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.“


►  After One-Star TripAdvisor Review, Restaurant Goes ‘Nuclear’

A British mom says she’s a “nervous wreck” after she posted a negative restaurant review on TripAdvisor and is now being threatened with jail time for libel and defamation, per the Mirror. The London Times reports on the situation of 44-year-old nurse Sarah Gardner, who put up a one-star review on the travel website for High Rocks, a Kent eatery she says had “rude” and “arrogant” staff and served fare that was “mediocre at best.“ High Rocks didn’t appreciate the review and took what Gardner calls the “nuclear option,“ per the Mirror. It recruited a law firm, which sent her first an 11-page letter then a 14-page one noting her harsh words had cost the restaurant “financial harm worth tens of thousands of pounds.“

She was warned she could be “imprisoned or fined” if she didn’t send along dates and receipts of all the times she’d dined there. High Rocks wants those records because, after manager Giuseppe Cappellazzi accused Gardner of not dining there during the month she posted the review, she retorted she’d based her review on many High Rock experiences she’d had. Per the Times, Cappellazzi says she’s being “vindictive” and that Gardner was just trying to get back at the restaurant because it refused to let her book it after she was “extremely rude and offensive” on the phone. Gardner insists her review was honest, but she asked TripAdvisor to take it down and says she’s not sure what she’ll do if her case is hauled into court.


►  ‘Total Victory’ for Assange, With a Catch

Swedish prosecutors say they’ve dropped a rape investigation into Julian Assange, but the WikiLeaks founder will still face arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London that has been his home for the last five years. Swedish Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny asked the Stockholm District Court to revoke Assange’s European arrest warrant Friday after concluding that bringing Assange to Sweden will not happen “in a foreseeable future,“ per the BBC and AP. “This is a total victory for Julian Assange. He is now free to leave the embassy when he wants,“ Assange’s lawyer in Sweden tells the AP. But that’s not exactly the case.

Earlier Friday, the UK’s Metropolitan Police Service said an arrest warrant was issued for Assange when he violated his bail conditions by entering the embassy in 2012, reports the Guardian. Police are “obliged to execute that warrant should he leave the embassy,“ the service said. Assange could also be extradited to the US, where he is likely to face trial over the leaking of documents through WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks on Friday tweeted the “UK refuses to confirm or deny whether it has already received a US extradition warrant for Julian Assange. Focus now moves to UK.“ On Friday morning, Assange tweeted a photo of himself relaxing with a big smile. He previously claimed his innocence.


►  Rejected by U.S., Accepted by Canada: ‘I’m Finally Home’

A Ghanaian refugee who lost all his fingers to frostbite after his Christmas Eve journey to Canada wept with joy after learning he would not be sent back to his homeland, where he fears persecution for being bisexual. Canada’s refugee board has accepted the asylum claim of Seidu Mohammed, 24, who spent more than seven hours walking through snow in freezing temperatures to get to Manitoba from North Dakota last year, the CBC reports. His refugee claim was denied in the US after he arrived in 2015 and he feared being deported or returned to immigration detention under the Trump administration. He would have been sent back at a border crossing, so he made the dangerous trek to claim asylum on Canadian soil.

“I’m so happy. I don’t know what to say. Now I’m home, I’m finally home now,“ Mohammed said after his claim was accepted this week. Another man who made the trek with him and has only thumbs left on both hands is still waiting for a decision in his case. Mohammed’s immigration lawyer, Bashir Khan, says his client is a “true Canadian at heart” who hopes to contribute to society. “He was inspired by Canadian values from the first day he entered Canada,“ Khan tells the Winnipeg Free Press. “He’s going to contribute a lot.“


►  Judges Burn KitKat: Shape Has ‘No Inherent Distinctiveness’

Nestle may find itself muttering “give me a break,“ but perhaps with an expletive tossed in at the end. The company on Wednesday lost its latest attempt to trademark its four-finger chocolate bar shape in the UK, in what has been a 7-year battle. The Guardian reports that after months of deliberation, a three-judge appeals panel explained in 16,000 words that the KitKat shape is not a “badge of origin” and has “no inherent distinctiveness.“ Ouch. The global confectionery has been fighting its rival Mondelez, the US owner of Cadbury, on the issue since 2010. The BBC reports that the two have gone at it over other would-be trademarks, calling out Cadbury’s failed attempt in 2013 to register the shade of purple used in its Dairy Milk packaging (Pantone 2685C, for the curious).

Shapes can in fact be trademarked if proven distinctive enough (think Coca-Cola’s bottle, or, on the candy front, Toblerone’s “zigzag prism” bar), but it’s often a slog, and a long one at that. An intellectual property lawyer explains what’s at stake in cases like these: Trademarks “confer monopoly rights, so I can see entirely why Nestle thought ... let’s register it, because we can stop anyone from producing a bar in four fingers.“ And they aren’t the only ones to produce such a bar; the similarly-shaped Norwegian bar Kvikk Lunsj, which means “quick lunch,“ has been around since 1937—nearly as long as KitKat. Nestle could try to get its case in front of the UK supreme court.


►  ‘Major Breakthrough’ Claimed in Grisly Norwegian Mystery

The team of Norwegian journalists investigating a decades-old grisly mystery believe they’ve made a “major breakthrough,“ the BBC reports. Reporters from NRK, Norway’s national broadcaster, have spent the past year investigating the 1970 death of the “Isdal Woman.“ Now they say a chemical analysis of her teeth shows she likely grew up in an area along the border of France and Germany. The analysis—a new technique that had never before been performed by Norwegian police—also shows the Isdal Woman likely moved west from eastern or central Europe right before or during WWII. A scientist at the Norwegian Criminal Investigation Service says the results are “much more specific than I could have dreamed of.“

The Isdal Woman’s body was discovered in 1970 in a remote area of Norway’s Isdalen valley. The front half of her body was badly burned—evidence points to it happening while she was alive—and she had dozens of sleeping pills in her stomach. But many investigators didn’t believe she killed herself. A suitcase belonging to her contained disguises and a coded message—but no labels on clothing or anything else that could be used to identify her. Prior to her death, she stayed in a string of hotels under at least eight names—all of them fake. There were rumors she was a spy. The results of the chemical analysis may make it easier for NRK journalists to find people who knew the unidentified woman and finally solve the mystery.


►  Want a Castle in Italy for Free? It’s Not Impossible

Looking for a challenge, free real estate, and a chance to brush up on your Italian? Italy has a deal for you: The State Property Agency is giving away 103 historic buildings—think farmhouses, convents, school houses, post offices, and even castles—located along cycling paths and eight pilgrimage routes, reports the Local. But nothing in life is truly free, so of course there’s a condition attached to the giveaway: You have to turn the building into some kind of a tourist attraction. “The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector,“ says Roberto Reggi of the State Property Agency. “The goal is for private and public buildings which are no longer used to be transformed into facilities for pilgrims, hikers, tourists, and cyclists,“ like hotels or restaurants.

Which, of course, means that the successful applicant will have a business and renovation plan; Travel and Leisure notes that the deadline to apply is June 26, and applicants should be ready to open their doors by summer 2018. Italy is granting applicants the rights to the property for nine years, with the option to renew for another nine, although the Local notes that exceptional proposals could score a 50-year lease. It’s not the first such Italian government giveaway—it tried a similar scenario with lighthouses—and it won’t be the last: The State Property Agency will be adding another 200 properties to the giveaway pile over the next two years.


►  Brazil’s top prosecutor accuses Temer of obstructing justice

Brazil’s top prosecutor is accusing President Michel Temer of corruption and obstruction of justice, according to an investigation released Friday by the supreme court, dramatically escalating pressure to force the embattled leader from office.

At the same time, other released documents said the owner of a major meatpacker has told prosecutors that he transferred $150 million to offshore accounts for the campaigns of Temer’s two predecessors in the presidency.

Attorney General Rodrigo Janot’s charges against Temer threaten to drive him from the presidency and represent an extraordinary development in a corruption probe that is upending politics and just about everything else in Latin America’s largest nation.

For Temer, a 76-year-old career politician who was not elected, the fallout could cost him his job. Temer, then vice president, took power a year ago after President Dilma Rousseff was impeached and later removed from office for illegally managing the federal budget.

By Friday afternoon, O Globo, the flagship paper of Brazil’s largest media company, was calling for Temer’s resignation, delivering a significant blow to Temer’s prospects of survival. The media group had supported Temer’s proposed reform, and more generally wields enormous influence because of its popular soap operas and media dominance.

The attorney general’s formal presentation of evidence is the latest revelation related to a secretly recorded audio that purportedly captured Temer endorsing the paying of hush money to an ex-lawmaker now serving a 15-year prison sentence for corruption. The audio was first reported by Globo newspaper Wednesday night and has been rocking the country ever since.

In a plea bargain by the same man who recorded Temer, released as part of the document dump by the Supreme Tribunal Federal, the president is accused of taking $1.5 million in bribes.

Janot says Temer and Senator Aecio Neves have tried to derail the three-year-old “Car Wash” investigation into a huge kickback scheme at the state-run oil company Petrobras via legislative means and by influencing police investigators.

“In this way, there is evidence of possibly committing the crime of obstructing justice,“ Janot wrote.

Because the case involves a sitting president, the process is different than in any other kind of criminal case. With a formal investigation now opened, Janot’s next step will be to decide whether his case is strong enough to send it to the lower Chamber of Deputies in Congress.

If at least two-thirds of the members of the lower house voted in favor, the case would be sent back to the top court, which would then decide whether to put Temer on trial. If the court decided to try Temer, he would be suspended from office for up to 180 days. A conviction would permanently remove him from office.

At least eight pieces of proposed legislation to impeach Temer have been submitted in Congress, and a stream of people from many walks of life has been calling for him to step down.

On Friday, former Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa added his voice.

“There is not another way out: Brazilians must organize, go to the streets and demand with strength the immediate resignation of Michel Temer,“ tweeted Barbosa.

Temer’s administration began questioning both the legality and content of the recording first reported by Globo.

“President Michel Temer does not believe in the veracity of the declarations” in the recording, according to a statement from his office.

The statement also noted that the person who made the recording, JBS meat-packing company executive Joesley Batista, is under investigation himself and thus was “taking advantage” of the situation. The recording was turned over to prosecutors as part of a Batista plea bargain.

In the documents released Friday, Batista also said his company paid Temer about $1.5 million from 2010 to 2017. Some of those funds were disguised as legal campaign donations and others were channeled to Temer’s public image consultant Elsinho Mouco, Batista said.

Attempts to locate Mouco for comment were not successful. The presidency also didn’t immediately respond to queries seeking comment about the latest revelations.

In Batista’s plea bargain, he also told authorities that he transferred $150 million to offshore bank accounts for campaigns of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his successor in the presidency, Dilma Rousseff.

Batista said former finance minister Guido Mantega was the middle man in the operation. He also said both former presidents were aware of the transfers, but did not say where the accounts were based. Batista also didn’t say for which campaigns the money was transferred.

Rousseff denied the accusations in a statement and said she never had offshore bank accounts. Silva’s spokesman said Batista’s accusations are hearsay that was never investigated.

For Silva, president between 2003 and 2010, the accusations add to a long list of corruption cases against him, which may ultimately keep him from running for office in 2018.

The sprawling “Car Wash” probe that began three years ago has already put dozens of Brazil’s top businessmen and politicians in prison. Many more are being investigated.

After the Globo report on Temer, Brazil’s highest court opened an investigation into the accusation late Thursday and lifted the seal on the nearly 39-minute recording, which is scratchy and often inaudible.

In it, two men can be heard talking about former Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, now serving a 15-year prison sentence for corruption and money laundering. Globo’s report identified the men as Temer and Batista.

One man, apparently Temer, complains that Cunha could potentially embarrass him.

“Within my limits, I did the most I could there. I settled everything,“ responds the other man, apparently Batista. “He came and collected, etc., etc., etc. I am good with Eduardo, OK?“

The first man then says: “You have to keep that up, see?“ To which the second man responds: “Every month.“

Temer addressed the nation on Thursday, denying that he had authorized any bribes and vowing to continue in office. His short speech did little to calm nerves during a volatile that saw a 10 percent drop in Brazil’s stock market and an 8 percent drop in the real against the U.S. dollar.

By late Friday, the real had clawed back 3 percent of its value and stocks were up nearly 2 percent in the Ibovespa exchange. Still, it’s unlikely that the volatility, either in Latin America’s largest economy or its politics, has ended.

Q&A

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV      We have a situation in our family, and it may be a problem in other families. Maybe you have an answer to help us all.

I voted my conscience in the most recent presidential election, but I feel I am being punished by my daughter and her family, who didn’t agree with me. She had an exceptional education, which I believe should have included consideration of others’ opinions.

Not too much has been said directly, as we both know that too much damage would be done should we broach the subject of the current political situation. Indeed, I have told her that I will not argue with her and that I hope we can ‘“agree to disagree.“

I am afraid her lack of respect for my opinion will cause lasting damage to my relationship with my grandchildren. I love them all so much and am not sure what to do except to hope that time will heal. Do you have any suggestions? — Must Be Anon.

The Free Press WV    Dear Must: Your daughter is still speaking to you, and she isn’t broaching the subject of politics. To me, that sounds an awful lot like agreeing to disagree. So I’m not sure where your uneasiness is coming from here. Perhaps you feel that she’s silently judging you for your beliefs. She’s probably not, but even if she is, so what? She still loves you. Parents and children need not share the same voting record to share the same values. Focus on fertilizing the common ground between you two. Let her know how much she and your grandchildren mean to you. With love and time, any coldness will thaw.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV      I’d like to offer one more suggestion in regard to the letter from “Sad Nana With So Much to Be Thankful For,“ who wrote to express the things she’d like her adult children to do around the house while she’s taking care of her terminally ill husband.

Please, everyone – friends, family, casual acquaintances – when you see someone who is serving as a caregiver, ask the caregiver how he or she is doing, as opposed to asking about the person who is under his or her care. This makes the caregiver feel acknowledged, allows the caregiver to give an update on the ill person’s status if he or she wishes, avoids an uncomfortable response if the ill person is dying, and is a caring way to express concern for the ill person and the whole family. Terminal illness drains everyone, and constant inquiries about how the ill person is when there is no possibility of change or hope for the better are hard blows to the heart.

Yes, “John,“ the loved one I’m caring for, is dying. But how am I doing? I’m trying to keep myself together for him and trying to do everything I can. I’m dealing with my future loss and a lot of problems with finances, self-care and an overall feeling of discouragement. Bring some cheer to my life; ask how I’m doing. — Aurora

The Free Press WV    Dear Aurora: What a valuable insight. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of caring for the caregivers.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV      I’m lucky in that I feel as if I can talk to my parents about everything – everything, that is, except my dating life. My parents met in high school and got married while still attending their local state college. I’m in my mid-20s, and though I’d like a family one day, I’m currently working on getting my master’s degree and working part time. This leaves little room for dating. My parents get their hopes up every time I tell them I’ve met a guy, and it crushes me to disappoint them when it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s tiring trying to explain to my mom that going on a few dates with a guy doesn’t mean that we’re on the road to marriage. Twenty-first-century dating is so complicated. I can’t imagine having a conversation with my mom about navigating Tinder or reading into Instagram likes or being ghosted. I’ve stopped telling them about my dating life because it seems easier that way, but it also feels as if I’m hiding part of my life from my parents. Annie, how do I bridge this generational gap? — Single Sally

The Free Press WV    Dear Single: Give your parents more credit, Sally. You think your generation is the first to experience guys disappearing after a few dates? Imagine only having a landline to communicate. Though you don’t have to share the nitty-gritty details with your folks, it sounds as if they want to be there for you to share in the good times and the bad. This “gap” is of your own making. Though potentially awkward, explaining dating apps to your mom could be enlightening and even fun.

Your parents should appreciate your dedication to finding the right man, as opposed to just settling down. Better to be the tortoise who takes her time getting married than the hare who’s speeding toward her second divorce.

Spring Interns Complete Student Teaching for GSC

The Free Press WV

Ten students have completed their student teaching internships for Glenville State College and participated in GSC’s 143rd Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 06, 2017.


The Free Press WV
Kaitlyn Bircheat of Chapmanville, WV completed her student teaching in Music Education (PreK-adult) at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Robert L. Bland Middle School, and Jane Lew Elementary School with Jeremiah Smallridge and Tracy Alfred.

Dr. David Lewis and Dr. John Taylor were her GSC supervisors.

She is the daughter of Steve and Dewana Bircheat of Chapmanville, West Virginia.


The Free Press WV
Brittany Burdette of Ripley, WV completed her student teaching in English Education (5-adult) at Robert L. Bland Middle School and Lewis County High School with Lesley White and Grace Harris.

Dr. John Taylor and Dr. Melody Wise were her GSC supervisors.

She is the daughter Julie Burdette and Alex Buchanan of Evans, West Virginia.

She is engaged to be married to Spencer Steele, who is a recent GSC graduate.


The Free Press WV
Meghan Harubin of Normantown, WV completed her student teaching in Elementary Education (K-6) and Early Education (PreK-K) at Davis Elementary School with Melissa Duckworth and Paula Frame.

Dr. Shelly Ratliff was her GSC Supervisor.

She is the daughter of Chuck and Kathy Harubin of Normantown, West Virginia.


The Free Press WV
Jerrica Hilbert of Saint Albans, WV completed her student teaching in Music Education (PreK-adult) at Williamstown High School with Chris Hodges and at Mineral Wells Elementary with Beth Buskirk.

Dr. David Lewis and Dr. Shara Curry were her GSC supervisors.

She is the daughter of Jerry and Sherry Hilbert of Saint Albans, West Virginia.


The Free Press WV
Charles ‘Chuck’ Lynch of Sissonville, WV completed his student teaching in Biological Science (9-adult) and General Science (5-adult) at Gilmer County High School with Travis Fisher and Monica Haley.

Dr. Shara Curry and Dr. Jeff Hunter were his GSC supervisors.

He is the son of Dana and Tami Lynch of Sissonville, West Virginia.


The Free Press WV
Jonathan Reid of Clear Creek, WV completed his student teaching in Music Education (PreK-adult) at Gilmer County Elementary School and Doddridge County High School with Judy Leggett and Shaylyn Dabbs.

Dr. David Lewis and Dr. Shelly Ratliff were his GSC supervisors.

He is the son of Randall and Kathy Reid of Clear Creek, West Virginia.


The Free Press WV
Sara Rollins of Macfarlan, WV completed her student teaching in Music Education (PreK-adult) at Williamstown High School, Pleasant Hill Elementary School, and Arnoldsburg Elementary School with Chris Hodges and John Bugby.

Dr. David Lewis and Dr. Shara Curry were her GSC supervisors.

She is the daughter of Terry and Vicki Rollins of Macfarlan, West Virginia.

Rollins was also named Outstanding Student Teacher of the spring semester by the education honor society Kappa Delta Pi.


The Free Press WV
J’Aime Shearer of Weston, WV completed her student teaching in Elementary Education (K-6) and Early Education (PreK-K) at Gilmer County Elementary School with Amber Frashure and Lora Stump.

Dr. Shara Curry and Connie Stout-O’Dell were her GSC supervisors.

She is the daughter of Jim and Beth Barnes of Horner, West Virginia.

She currently resides in Weston with her husband William and daughter Madison.


The Free Press WV
Kimberly Smith of Harrisville, WV completed her student teaching in Music Education (PreK-adult) at Lewis County High School, Leading Creek Elementary School, and Roanoke Elementary School with Whitney Ballard and Allen Heath.

Dr. David Lewis and Dr. John Taylor were her GSC supervisors.

She is the daughter of Amy Floyd of Coxs Mills, West Virginia.


The Free Press WV
Tiffany (Young) Somerville of Linn, WV completed her student teaching in Elementary Education (K-6) and Early Education (PreK-K) at Leading Creek Elementary School with Debbie Adams and Debbie Moss.

Dr. Shelly Ratliff was her GSC Supervisor.

She is the daughter of Larry and Robin Young of Sand Fork, West Virginia.

She currently resides in Linn with her husband Taylor.


Senior teacher education students take part in an internship during their final semester at GSC. At the conclusion of their internship students must complete a presentation illustrating their mastery of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards as well as the standards of their particular area of study.

For more information about the Teacher Education Program at Glenville State College, contact 304.462.4119.

West Fork Conservation District Farm Field Day Event!

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The West Fork Conservation District encourages producers and students to attend the 2017 “Grazing Management Strategies” Field Day on Friday July 21st, and Saturday July 22nd, 2017. This field day will be for producers interested in learning about improving grazing practices and soil health, to make their operations more productive and profitable!

What are we talking about? The WFCD, along with WVU Extension, and The Natural Resource Conservation Service, will welcome renowned key note speakers, Mr. Greg Judy, and Dr. Matt Poore, who will come together to educate West Virginia’s local beef producers about extending forage production, successful cattle handling, and many other key features to successful farming.

Rancher and public speaker, Greg Judy, has given numerous talks and seminars all over the US, New Zealand & Canada, teaching the benefits of holistic high density planned grazing, leasing land, multi-species grazing, custom grazing, agroforestry and wildlife management. Mr. Judy will talk about “securing and developing economical grazing leases and mob grazing.”

Dr. Matt Poore, a Professor at North Carolina State University and Extension Beef Specialist, will teach about “making adaptive grazing work for you while maintaining soil health”.

There is something for everyone in this field day, and you do not want to miss these once in a lifetime keynote speakers! (Please note that you will need to pre-register with the District office to attend these events).

The field day will be a two-day event, with a dinner meeting featuring both Mr. Judy and Dr. Poore, taking place Friday, July 21st, at 6:00 p.m. at the Doddridge Co. Park on Snow Bird Road in Doddridge County, WV.

Saturday, July 22nd, will be a day filled with a morning seminar and an afternoon pasture walk, featuring Mr. Judy, Dr. Poore and West Fork’s NRCS District Conservationist, Jeff Griffith. Saturday’s event will start at 9:00 a.m. at the Maxwell farm, owned by John & Sue Ann Spiker, in Doddridge County, WV.

RSVP’s, including payment to attend, will need to be made by July 14th, 2017, and should include the number attending and the events that you wish to attend. We hope to see all of you out there for a chance to take away some great information and make great connections! To register, or for more information on this event, please contact WFCD at
304.627.2160 x 4.

Estate Planning Expert to Provide Seminar

One of the nation’s leading estate planning and taxation attorneys, Charles “Skip” Fox IV, is coming to Parkersburg on May 24th. 

The Free Press WV
As a partner in McGuireWoods of Charlottesville, VA,
Skip Fox chairs the firm’s private wealth services team.


Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF), Mid-Ohio Valley Estate Planning Council (MOVEPC), and the Marietta Community Foundation, financial planners, bankers, attorneys, accountants and insurance agents can participate in a national-caliber educational seminar right here at home.  Ohio and West Virginia continuing education credits are available in the fields of law, banking, accounting, insurance and financial planning.

Thanks to generous event sponsors, Astorg & Jones, CPAs, Peoples Bank, WesBanco Bank, and United Bank, the all-inclusive fee is $250 ($200 for MOVEPC members). 

The seminar is on May 24th from 8:30am - 4:30pm at the Parkersburg Country Club. 

To register or learn more, contact the PACF at 304.428.4428 or or visit www.pacfwv.com/MOVEPC/Register.

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