WV International Film Festival

The Free Press WV

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

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

The festival will continue through Sunday, April 30.

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

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

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

Here are the films that will be shown:

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

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

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

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

“Tanna” (Drama/Romance, Australia) Unrated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Film Festival Schedule

Friday, April 21

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

Saturday, April 22

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

Sunday, April 23

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

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

Monday, April 24

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

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

Tuesday, April 25

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

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

Wednesday, April 26

7 p.m. “Julieta” (Capitol Theater)

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

Thursday, April 27

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

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

Friday, April 28

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

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

Saturday, April 29

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

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

8:55 p.m. “Tanna” (Capitol Theater)

Sunday, April 30

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

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

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

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

In USA….

The Free Press WV


►  10 U.S. Cities With the Worst Air Pollution

Despite California’s imposing environmental laws, the state has some of the worst air pollution in the country, reports USA Today via the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report, out Wednesday. While the report names Visala/Hanford, Calif., as having the worst overall year-round pollution, it also notes eight of the 25 US cities with the worst short-term air pollution are in the Golden State. The top 10 in that category:

  1. Bakersfield, Calif.
  2. Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Calif.
  3. Fresno-Madera, Calif.
  4. Modesto-Merced, Calif.
  5. Fairbanks, Alaska
  6. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif.
  7. Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, Utah
  8. Logan, Utah
  9. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
  10. Reno-Carson City-Fernley, Nev.

Click for the FULL REPORT.

►  Report: Alleged Stalker Asks Malia Obama to Marry Him

A 30-year-old man is facing possible charges for allegedly stalking and harassing Malia Obama, the New York Daily News reports. According to NBC New York, Jair Cardoso showed up at the New York City building where the 18-year-old daughter of the former president is interning three days in a row, from April 10 to April 12. Sources say on April 10 Cardoso held up a sign and yelled for Obama to marry him before Secret Service agents told him to leave. Two days later, he was stopped by agents while allegedly following Obama after she left her internship, CBS New York reports.

On April 13, Secret Service agents interviewed Cardoso at his apartment and took him to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Sources say Cardoso is trying to use Obama to get to her father, who he wants to ask for help. Agents believe Cardoso, who they say repeatedly tried to get into the White House in the past, is emotionally disturbed. The Secret Service filed police reports regarding Cardoso’s alleged behavior on Tuesday. The NYPD is considering stalking or harassment charges, though none have yet been filed.

►  South Korea Mocks Trump’s ‘Ignorant Remarks’ - Trump puts his foot in his mouth, again, angering yet another ally.

South Korean officials have demanded the White House confirm that remarks made by US Donald Trump are accurate, after they sparked fury among political leaders in the country.

On Thursday the South Korean foreign ministry said it was working to find out whether Chinese President Xi Jinping told Mr. Trump that the country “used to be part of China”.

The comments were quoted in a Wall Street Journal interview with the President where he was recounting what the Chinese leader had told him in a recent meeting.

While the comment was not used in the initial article, it was later posted in a transcript online with Trump saying about Xi: “He then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years ... and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China.”

A Quartz article later drew attention to it, calling the comment a “glaring historical inaccuracy that has, somehow, not yet enraged South Korea which is usually extremely defensive about suggestions that it is lesser than China or has ever been dependent on it.”

Since then, South Korean media has picked up the comment despite it being dismissed by the foreign ministry as “not worthy of a response” according to news agency Yonhap.

►  U.S. reverses itself on status of deported Mexican

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday reversed its position on the status of a man who has sued over his deportation to Mexico, acknowledging he was enrolled in a program to shield people who came to the country as young children.

Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was entitled to be in the United States until January 25, 2018 under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to Homeland Security, which broke from its position a day earlier that his status expired in August 2015 and wasn’t renewed. But it said Montes acknowledged under oath that he entered the country illegally on February 19, forcing him to lose status because it was an admission that he left without required permission.

Montes’ attorneys say their client is believed to be the first known DACA recipient to be deported by Donald Trump. They say he qualified in 2014 and renewed his status for two years in 2016.

A lawsuit seeking records about Montes’ deportation was assigned to U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego, who last month approved an agreement for Trump to pay $25 million to settle cases alleging that his now-defunct Trump University misled customers. Trump repeatedly criticized the Indiana-born judge during the presidential campaign, insinuating that his Mexican heritage exposed a bias.

The case may define Trump’s approach to DACA, which was introduced in 2012 by President Barack Obama. Trump has kept it in place and made sympathetic remarks about its beneficiaries, upsetting some immigration hardliners.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday that he didn’t want to “rush to judgment” about Montes and referred questions to Homeland Security. He said the administration’s enforcement priorities are people who committed crimes in the United States and pose a threat.

“I would respectfully suggest that, in this case, the facts are not completely out, so I would rather not jump to conclusions about what happened,“ he said.

U.S. Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican, applauded Montes’ removal in a tweet that linked to a story in USA Today, which first reported the case. Above a photo of a mug, he wrote, “First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one’s for you.“
Even after its latest statement, Homeland Security’s account sharply differed from what Montes’ attorneys say happened.

The attorneys said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Southern District of California that their client left the country February 17 only because he was stopped by a law enforcement official and asked for identification while walking to a taxi stand in Calexico, California, about 120 miles east of San Diego. He was asked to sign documents without being given copies or an opportunity to see an immigration judge.

After getting assaulted in the Mexican border city of Mexicali, Montes returned to the United States two days later and turned himself over to authorities, according to the lawsuit. He was again asked to sign documents, not provided copies and returned to Mexico.

Homeland Security said Wednesday that the Border Patrol had no record of the initial encounter in Calexico and that Montes had left the United States “on an unknown date.“ The Border Patrol arrested after him after he climbed over a border fence in the California border town of about 40,000 people.

The National Immigration Law Center, which represents Montes, stood by its account. Its lawsuit seeks records on why their client was deported, alleging that immigration officials violated the Freedom of Information Act for failure to respond to its request beyond acknowledging receipt.

“Juan Manuel has been unequivocal in his assertion that he never voluntarily left the country while he had DACA,“ said attorney Nora Preciado. “We believe him ... Rather than continue to provide half-truths and varying assertions, DHS should respond to our request for documentation. We will see them in court.“

Montes, who came to the United States when he was 9 years old, graduated high school in 2013 and pursued a welding degree at community college, according to the lawsuit. He then worked two years picking crops in California and Arizona. He is currently in Mexico.

Homeland Security said Montes was convicted of shoplifting in July 2016. His lawyers acknowledged in the lawsuit that he had a misdemeanor on his record and “minor traffic offenses,“ none of which would have disqualified him from DACA.

The government has issued nearly 800,000 DACA permits since President Barack Obama introduced the program in 2012 and nearly 700,000 renewals.

►  From ‘Politicized Prisoner’ to Inmate Hero

Reporter Joseph Shapiro first met Martin Sostre after New York’s governor granted the inmate clemency in 1976. The prisoner’s story sparked a lifelong interest in prison activism for Shapiro, who documents for NPR his search for the long-disappeared Sostre. Shapiro dives into the early life of the self-described “street dude” from Harlem whose first bust (for drugs) in 1952 sent him to upstate New York’s Sing Sing correctional facility and kicked off his tenure as a “politicized prisoner.“ Along with newfound knowledge he gained reading about law, black history, philosophy, and the Constitution, Sostre decided to take the hustling skills he’d gained on the streets and put them to good use fighting for prisoners’ rights. He was even thrown in solitary for his push for religious concessions as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Sostre and two other inmates won a lawsuit in 1961 against a warden at another prison for denying prisoners their religious rights, setting the foundation for other inmates’ suits against other correctional facilities. When Sostre was released, he opened a leftist-leaning bookstore in Buffalo, which he ran until a 1967 raid at his bookstore landed him a decades-long sentence in prison on drug charges he denied. He continued to stand up for his rights and those of other inmates, filing legal motions to protest stints in solitary and what he said were other violations. His victories earned him hero status among inmates nationwide. “No single figure played a greater role in securing legal rights for prisoners in the history of US prisons than Martin Sostre,“ one historian notes. More at NPR on what Shapiro found out when he tracked down Sostre’s wife.

►  Lost Wallet Found— After Nearly 60 Years

Good news: The wallet lost by Isolde Zitzewitz in a Washington state Bon Marche has been found. Bad news: The wallet appears to have been lost nearly 60 years ago, the Bon Marche is long gone, and Zitzewitz died in 2009. The wallet-turned-time capsule was discovered by a construction crew demolishing what is now a Macy’s in downtown Spokane. It fell out of a drainpipe six stories off the ground (it’s unclear how the wallet ended up in such an improbable spot). The wallet worked its way up the chain of command from the construction crew, eventually landing in the newsroom of the Spokesman-Review.

The wallet contained Zitzewitz’s ID cards for the Women’s Army Corps; a credit card that predates American Express; a US Army vehicle operator’s license; a Fred Meyer receipt for ice cream and coffee; a joke card handed out by commissioned officers when their subordinates complained; and more. None of the documents, some of which are in German, are dated past 1958. A volunteer researcher at the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society tracked down Zitzewitz, discovering she died in 2009, apparently without ever marrying or having children. But the Spokesman-Review found her nephew, Gus Zitzewitz, who describes his aunt as “extremely educated” and worldly. He says she never mentioned losing her wallet. Read the full story HERE .

►  Teen Who Disappeared After Prom Faces Criminal Charge

The 17-year-old Idaho high-schooler who disappeared after his prom has been found—and is now facing criminal charges for running away from home, KTVB reports. Kristian Perez was reported missing by his mother on Saturday when he didn’t return home following his prom in Orofino. According to the Spokesman-Review, police found Perez’s broken cellphone, tuxedo jacket, and one shoe near the car of a relative who had driven Perez to prom. Police believed there was the possibility of foul play, KLEW reports. Police dogs followed Perez’s scent to a parking lot near the prom but lost it there.

Police found Perez shortly before 1am Tuesday at a house a few miles from the prom after receiving a tip. Authorities say he was fine and voluntarily staying with a 26-year-old man named Tyson Imel. Perez was arrested and is facing the possibility of probation on a runaway charge. Idaho is one of nine states where running away from home is a crime. Imel may also face charges. Orofino’s police chief says the department spent “a lot of man-hours” searching for Perez, and they’re “disappointed” he ran away without telling his family.

►  Georgetown Apologizes for 1838 Slave Sale

Georgetown University and the group of Catholic priests that founded the school in Washington, DC, have apologized for selling slaves in 1838 in order to raise money to pay off the college’s debts. The school has renamed two buildings in honor of two of the 272 people sold, reports the AP. Their descendants gathered on the Georgetown campus for a dedication ceremony Tuesday.

One building is named Isaac Hawkins Hall in honor of the first person listed in documents related to the sale. Another bears the name of Anne Marie Becraft, a free woman of color who taught Catholic black girls in Georgetown. Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States president Rev. Timothy Kesicki said during a prayer service that the group has “greatly sinned” and is “profoundly sorry.“ Georgetown is also offering a preference in admissions to descendants of those sold.

►  Man Believed to Be First DACA Deportee Sues U.S.

A 23-year-old man sued the federal government over his deportation to Mexico, saying he was entitled to remain in the US under a program shielding people who came to the country as young children. Juan Manuel Montes’ attorneys say their client is believed to be the first known person who qualifies for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be deported by Trump, the AP reports. The attorneys say Montes qualified for DACA in 2014 and renewed his status for two years in 2016. US Customs and Border Protection disputes Montes’ account of his immigration status, saying his DACA permit expired in August 2015 and wasn’t renewed. The agency says Montes was once convicted of theft and sentenced to probation. His lawyers acknowledge in the suit he had a misdemeanor on his record and “minor traffic offenses,“ none of which would have disqualified him from DACA.

The suit, which says Montes came to the US when he was 9, notes he was sent to Mexico on February 17 after law enforcement stopped him in Calexico, Calif., and asked for ID. It says he’d forgotten his wallet in a friend’s car and felt “scared and confused.“ The suit adds he was asked to sign documents without being given copies or meeting with an immigration judge. Montes returned to the US February 19 and turned himself in; he was again asked to sign documents and returned to Mexico. CBP says Montes was arrested after climbing over a Calexico border fence and admitting he’d entered the country illegally. “I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say,“ he says. A National Immigration Law Center attorney says he was “funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why ... The government shouldn’t treat anyone this way.“

►  NYT Tweet of Patriots-Trump Photos Causes a Stir

It’s another Trump-related brouhaha over crowd size. The New York Times set this one off with a tweet of two photos, one showing the New England Patriots visiting Trump at the White House on Wednesday and another showing them visiting President Obama in 2015. The Obama crowd was much bigger. A few hours later, the Patriots took public exception to the tweet with one of their own complaining that the images “lack context.“ And they have a point: The 2015 photo included players, coaches, and administrative staff. The 2017 photo included players and coaches only—those same staffers were seated in the audience. All of which caught the attention of Trump himself, who tweeted Thursday: “Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.“

It’s true that fewer players attended this year’s event than in 2015—34 vs. about 50. But a team spokesman says even that comparison is unfair given that it’s the team’s second Super Bowl win in three years, reports the Boston Globe. It’s just human nature that fewer would come this time, he suggested, not politics. However, at least one player skipped because of the president’s politics, notes the Washington Post: free safety Devin McCourty. QB Tom Brady also skipped this year, though he cited family reasons, and he skipped in 2015, too. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post notes that his wife, Gisele Bundchen, issued a tweet Wednesday perceived as anti-Trump. It’s since been deleted, but it supported an April 29 march in DC against new White House environmental policies. “March for climate, jobs, and justice,“ it read.

►  Report: CIA Hunting WikiLeaks Source

A manhunt is underway for a CIA employee or contractor who leaked classified documents to WikiLeaks, revealing the agency’s ability to turn smartphones, TVs, and computers into surveillance equipment. The CIA and FBI are searching for the unknown individual, who would’ve been among hundreds to have physical access to the documents in a secure section of the agency, reports CBS News. In related news, Page Six reports Hillary Clinton’s camp is investigating the source of leaked information provided to the authors of a book about her doomed campaign. A rep for Clinton, however, says details contained in the book are “flat-out made up.“

►  Judge’s Husband: She Did Not Kill Herself

The husband of a New York judge found floating in the Hudson River has made an anguished plea to the public to help solve her death. In a statement to NBC News, the Rev. Gregory Jacobs rejected claims his wife, Sheila Abdus-Salaam, the first African-American woman to sit on the state’s high court, committed suicide. Abdus-Salaam, 65, was found in the river in Upper Manhattan on April 12, one day after her husband reported her missing, per the Washington Post. She was wearing sweats, and her body showed no signs of trauma. Although police called the death suspicious, they’re calling it a probable suicide. Breaking his silence, Jacobs dismissed “unsubstantiated comments concerning my wife’s possible mental and emotional state of mind.“ He added, “Those of us who loved Sheila and knew her well do not believe that these unfounded conclusions have any basis in reality.“

The medical examiner has not established a cause of death. The Episcopal minister appealed to “anyone in the neighborhood to step forward with any information that might help us determine what may have happened during those hours before her death.“ While some friends expressed doubt Abdus-Salaam took her own life, others told the New York Times she was stressed and struggling under the pressure of a heavy caseload. The judge’s extended family also countered reports she was the first woman Muslim judge, telling NBC the former Sheila Turner hadn’t practiced the religion in 20 years, and used her first husband’s name professionally. “We will forever remember witnessing her happiness as she united in marriage to an Episcopal priest last year,“ they said.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►  ‘Mother of All Marches’ Leaves 3 Dead in Venezuela

What anti-government activists in Venezuela called the “mother of all marches” turned bloody on Wednesday, with at least three people killed and dozens more injured during rallies and marches across the country. The Guardian reports that at least one opposition lawmaker was hospitalized after taking part in the demonstrations, and photos shared online showed opposition leader Henrique Capriles choking on teargas during a protest in Caracas. Thousands of people clashed with soldiers and riot police in the capital, with protesters building barricades and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at security forces.

The AP reports that one of the people shot dead during the protest in Caracas was Carlos Romero, who was three days away from his 18th birthday. Family members say he was on his way to play soccer when he found himself between protesters and pro-government militias. Another victim was a 23-year-old woman shot dead by militia members as she was on her way home from a protest, according to the mayor of the city of San Cristobal. A third victim, a National Guardsman, was reportedly shot dead by a sniper. Protesters, including Catholic clergy members, are seeking to oust President Nicolas Maduro. The opposition has called for another mass protest on Thursday.

►  Images of North Korea Nuclear Test Site Show ... Volleyball

What are North Korean workers doing when not preparing for a nuclear test? Letting loose on the volleyball court, apparently. “Unusual” satellite images of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, snapped on Sunday and described in a 38 North report, reveal not the expected preparations for the country’s sixth nuclear test but rather three concurrent games of volleyball, reports the New York Times. Since North Korea knows when satellites zip overhead, analysts say the games at the main administrative area, guard barracks, and support area of the command center—plus an apparently unused volleyball net at the command center—were likely meant to convey some sort of message, though they aren’t exactly sure what.

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“They’re either sending us a message that they’ve put the facility on standby, or they’re trying to deceive us,“ according to one expert. “We really don’t know.“ The games could also signal a “tactical pause,“ per CNN. Analysts still believe the site is ready for another nuclear test at any time. But they say much of the activity seen at the site over the last eight weeks appears to have ended. Vehicles and trailers have disappeared from roads. And though there are minor signs of tunneling, “the pumping of water out of the tunnel to maintain an optimal environment for instrumentation and stemming seems to have ceased,“ the report states. Still, the games aren’t new: Per the 38 North report, “Personnel playing volleyball at the Punggye-ri nuclear test facility have also been identified on a number of occasions as far back as 2006 prior to the first nuclear test and more recently in February.“

►  As Venezuela Seizes Plant, GM Calls Out ‘Total Disregard’

As demonstrators march across Venezuela to protest President Nicolas Maduro’s administration, General Motors is dealing with its own problems in Valencia. The automaker said in a statement Wednesday that its plant there was illegally snatched by public officials and that “other assets,“ including vehicles, had been swiped from the factory, Reuters reports. The company has nearly 80 dealers in the country, as well as about 2,700 workers, and it says those who are affected by the seizure will now receive “separation payments,“ per the Detroit Free Press. GM’s statement calls the takeover a “total disregard” of its legal rights and says it will battle to defend those rights both “within and outside of Venezuela,“ CNNMoney reports. Reuters notes it’s not the first time Venezuela has appropriated factories located there.

►  The Land Where the Dead Never Die

In most parts of the world, wakes and funerals are the main form of ceremonial closure people have when a loved one passes away. Things are a little different in Indonesia’s Toraja region in Sulawesi, where Sahar Zand headed for the BBC to reveal a ritual most may find macabre: keeping dead bodies at home for months, even years. The families here, based partly on superstition that the departed person’s spirit will haunt them otherwise, preserve the corpses of loved ones with a special chemical made of formaldehyde and methanol, then position them right in the middle of the household’s activities, bringing the bodies food and water, bathing them, and even leaving the lights on all night as they keep referring to them in the present tense. This all takes place until family members have completed the mourning process in their own time and accepted that the deceased person is really dead.

This unusual transition eventually culminates with the body’s “grand procession” around town and an “unimaginably lavish funeral,“ which Torajans often save up their whole lives for so they can afford the best final send-off possible, with guests from around the globe invited to bear witness. One elaborate funeral Zand attended was a four-day event that cost the man’s family more than $50,000 and included the slaughter of hundreds of pigs and two dozen buffaloes (among the locals, buffaloes are thought to be the creatures that transport the dead to the afterlife, where their souls are then reincarnated). But as Zand explains, “Even interment doesn’t mean goodbye,“ with a reunion of sorts between the living and the dead every couple of years. More on the fascinating, if somewhat morbid, practice HERE .

►  Town Suddenly Dwarfed by Massive Iceberg

A small town on the coast of Newfoundland is—in the words of one local—suddenly “swarming with people” after a huge iceberg recently set up shop there, the CBC reports. The iceberg—150 feet above the water at its tallest point—got stuck in the shallow waters off Ferryland, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to move anytime soon. The iceberg is so big it dwarfed a helicopter that recently appeared to land on it. According to Quartz, unusually strong winds and rising Arctic temperatures could be responsible for an increase in icebergs in the area, including the one stuck in Ferryland.

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Hundreds of people are causing unprecedented traffic jams in the small town, trying to get photos of the iceberg, which are proliferating on social media. Ferryland Mayor Adrian Kavanagh tells VOCM the iceberg is a great way to start the tourist season—though a little early, as the town’s two restaurants don’t open until later in May. “We just gotta find a way to keep that iceberg there,“ he says. Kavanagh says the iceberg is the biggest he’s ever seen in Ferryland and people are interested “in that kind of stuff.“


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The Free Press WV      I am a college-age male and in desperate need of your advice. There is in my class a wonderful young woman, someone with whom I have talked often but never deeply. I want to get to know her better but simply do not know how; in fact, I do not even know whether she is as interested in me as I am in her. This is made worse by my autism, which prevents me from detecting emotions and social cues.

What should I do? I seek someone whose hand I can hold and whose eyes light up when they look on me. That is all I want and all I need. — Forsaken

The Free Press WV    Dear Forsaken: There are a great number of books that go into more depth about the unwritten rules of dating than I ever could here, and some are geared toward people with autism – Kerry Magro’s “Autism and Falling in Love’‘ and Joe Navarro’s “Ten ‘Must Know’ Body Language Secrets for Dating,‘’ to name just two.

But I will say that the best romantic relationships start as friendships, so you’re off to a good start simply by talking to this young woman often. Perhaps you could ask whether she’d like to get coffee sometime. If she says yes, take the opportunity to build a connection by asking about her background – where she is from, whether she has any siblings, what she’s hoping to do after college, etc. Tell her about yourself in equal measure.

And if she turns down your invitation, don’t despair. I promise, everyone has felt the sting of rejection at some point or another. Simply take it as practice for asking out the next girl who sparks your interest.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    After reading the letter from “Frustrated,‘’ whose cousin is constantly getting angry over minor things, I was compelled to write. The cousin’s behavior could be symptoms of a mental illness, specifically borderline personality disorder or paranoid personality disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health defines BPD as “a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships.‘’

There were several red flags “Frustrated’‘ used to describe her cousin that made me think she may have BPD: She’s always confrontational; she always quits jobs because of confrontations and blames the employers; and she has been like this for years, with the behavior getting worse.

Your advice to stage an intervention and express concern was good. “Frustrated’‘ should also encourage her to seek help from a mental health professional.

I realize that a disorder cannot be diagnosed based on a few comments, but learning more about personality disorders could help “Frustrated’‘ and his or her sisters when interacting with their cousin.

I learned about BPD two years ago after my son fathered a child with a woman diagnosed with BPD. It has been a difficult journey, but recognizing that she has a mental disorder has helped us cope with the situation. Most people in the general public, including family court judges, have never heard of BPD. The National Institute of Mental Health is an excellent resource for information about personality disorders and other mental health issues. — Advocating for Mental Health

The Free Press WV    Dear Advocating: Thank you for raising awareness about this commonly misunderstood disorder. Interested readers can find more information at

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    A few years back, my stepson, “Jaime,‘’ at age 23, announced to his dad (my husband) that he would be changing his middle name and last name, which are my husband’s first name and last name, and using his mother’s maiden name. He said he needed “space’‘ from his dad and asked him to cease contact “until further notice.‘’

We racked our brains but could think of nothing that warranted this – no specific negative incident – and he refused to explain why but was clearly emotional and upset.

Nonetheless, we have respected his wishes. After a year, my husband checked in with him to see whether he was ready to reconnect and got his head bitten off. Now nearly four years has passed with no word from him. We send birthday and Christmas gifts, and recently, when we were going to be visiting the area where he is attending school, we asked whether he would like to get together for dinner. Silence has always ensued.

We are heartbroken, especially my sweet and loving husband, who has been so devoted to Jaime and would do anything to heal whatever rift he has caused. We don’t know from one day to the next whether he is alive or dead, whether he is happy or suffering. Plus, we just miss our boy.

What can we do? We have given up hope that, as everyone tells us, “he’ll eventually come around.‘’ — Hand-wringing Gets Me Nowhere

The Free Press WV    Dear Hand-wringing: Living with a Jaime-shaped hole in your heart can’t be easy, and I’m sorry you and your husband are going through that. Of course you’re replaying events in your head, looking for anything that might explain the sudden cold front that swept over him, but it’s possible that you’ll never find an answer, and you must find a way to come to terms with that. If it helps, you and your husband could send Jaime a letter stating that if he’s ever willing to open up about what happened, you would love to know so that you can make it right by him.

Then turn your focus to what you can control. The U.K.-based group Stand Alone offers resources for parents dealing with estrangement. Visit for more information.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    I would like to pen a reply to “Neil,‘’ who is grieving the loss of his wife.

As cliched as it sounds, time really does help one to heal from the loss of someone.

Fourteen years ago, my mother lost her battle to breast cancer. For the longest time, I didn’t want to deal with anything – cooking, cleaning, etc. I did what needed to be done, but I didn’t want to do anything with her clothes or go through the paperwork that she left behind. Four years ago, my boyfriend moved in with my father and me, and this gave me the courage I needed to move on and start to change. Two years ago, I started going through everything. I donated most of her clothes. I shredded paperwork that she’d been hoarding in the attic for 30-plus years. I started changing things up around the house.

There are still days when I miss her and feel sad, but those days are getting fewer and further between. — Will

The Free Press WV    Dear Will: We’ve passed your letter along to Neil directly. We were touched by how many people wrote in to express their empathy for him. Thank you all for reaching out.

Justice Signs Medical Cannabis Act

Legislation will help terminally ill patients in WV

Governor was joined by Senator Ojeda, Senator Woelfel, Delegate Mike Pushkin, and members of the Legislature

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice signed the Medical Cannabis Act (Senate Bill 386). The Governor was joined for the bill signing by two of the initiative’s primary supporters, Senator Richard Ojeda (D-Logan) and Delegate Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha), as well as Senator Mike Woelfel (D-Cabell) and Dr. Rahul Gupta the State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health.

The Governor also praised Delegate Michael Folk for his bravery to stand up and let the people’s voice be heard on the floor of the House of Delegates.

West Virginia is now the 29th state to allow the medical use of cannabis.

“West Virginians are compassionate people and this law will help our neighbors who are struggling with illness,” said Governor Jim Justice. “This is a bipartisan effort and I want to thank Senator Ojeda, Senator Woelfel, Delegate Pushkin, and Delegate Folk for leading the charge to get this done. The people were heard loud and clear on this bill.”

Governor Justice added, “How could you turn your back on a loved one who is suffering? This is a vehicle for our doctors to help the people.”

The legislation will allow seriously ill West Virginians to use and access medical cannabis for treatment. Patients will need to have a written certification from their doctor to use medical cannabis. Under the law, West Virginians must register with the health department to purchase medical cannabis from regulated dispensaries. Patients will be able to access the treatment in different forms, including: pills, oils, creams, ointments, gels, tinctures, and liquid.

Terminally ill patients, given one year or less to live, will be eligible for medical cannabis. In addition, cannabis can be prescribed to West Virginians suffering from chronic health conditions, for example Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and cancer.​​​

Conservation Encouraged on Earth Day and Every Day

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Saturday, April 22, is Earth Day and the Public Service Commission of West Virginia wants to remind all citizens that conserving the earth’s natural resources can also lower your utility bills.

Saving money on heating and cooling bills can be as simple as changing furnace filters every month.  It is possible to save between 15-35% of a home’s energy loss by repairing loose or broken ductwork, caulking and weather stripping.  Shading windows during the warmer months can save up to 25% of the cost to cool a home.  Replace light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, which last up to five times longer and cost almost six times less to use than traditional incandescents.  If your electric utility provider offers a free energy audit, take advantage of it.  The information can save you money all year round.

Residents can also lower their water bill by making small changes in water usage and checking for leaks.  Nationwide, household water leaks waste more than one trillion gallons of water each year.  That’s enough to provide a year’s worth of water for 11 million homes.  Ten percent of homes have leaks that can waste 90 gallons or more per day.  A faucet dripping at the rate of one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.  Check faucet gaskets and washers and replace them when necessary.  Installing a low flow showerhead or faucet aerator can save gallons and dollars every time the tap is turned on.  Turning off the water while brushing your teeth will save three to five gallons or as much as 1,200 gallons a month for a family of four.

On Earth Day and every day, remember that saving the earth’s resources is good for the planet and good for the budget.

For more information, visit the PSC website: and click on the links under the heading “Conservation.”

G-OpEd™: Tremendous Victories Require Continued Vigilance

An op-ed by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

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Over the past few months, West Virginia has experienced a tremendous amount of success in beating back years of federal overreach that have devastated many in our state.

One of the greatest victories involved my office leading a coalition of 27 states and state agencies against the so-called Clean Power Plan, put in place by the Obama Administration to effectively kill coal – the lifeblood of so many families and communities in our state.

Together, we stopped the Power Plan in its tracks with a historic and unprecedented victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. We also mounted a vigorous challenge to the job-killing Obama regulations that attempted to kill new power plants, stymie oil and natural gas production and regulate a property owner’s roadside ditch as a “water of the United States.”

The Constitution and the laws of the United States provide no authority for unelected bureaucrats to enact this type of control over states and citizens. That’s why our office joined with like-minded attorneys general from across the nation. We successfully stopped these regulations and our efforts built a bridge to a better day.

We applaud President Trump’s swift action to unravel this mess of federal overreach, however, now is not the time to rest on our laurels.

I fully expect the opposition to fight back, but this battle won’t be fought any longer by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – it will be waged by states such as California, New York and Massachusetts.  They will try to replicate our success in suing the federal government and undo the good we have done.

Our batting average taking on federal overreach is strong. My office led the way to stop the Power Plan, which amounted to a radical transformation of the EPA from serving as an environmental regulator into a central energy planning authority aimed at devastating coal communities and those who depend upon coal’s future.

We also stopped the Waters of the United States rule that gave the federal government unprecedented control over small streams, farms and private property in a land grab focused on areas where water may flow once every 100 years. In addition, we forced reconsideration of a methane emissions regulation for natural gas producers, which places oil and natural gas in the federal government’s crosshairs under the guise of environmental protection.

There will continue to be naysayers and people who disagree – people who would call these successes failures or say we are going in the wrong direction, but West Virginians know better.

We are winning, but we need to remain in a position to move forward, aggressively marching on and into the next battle – whatever it may be. At a minimum, we need to stop our opponents from preventing the successful repeal or reconsideration of these onerous rules.

But to continue to prevail, we need adequate funding to fix the mess the Obama Administration left behind. We won’t keep winning unless we are fully equipped and prepared to continue advocating for West Virginia’s interests.

With President Trump in office, I have faith that we can stop the federal bureaucracy from running roughshod over our state as it has in recent years. But that alone is not enough.

We must keep the faith, press forward and continue to do everything in our power to help West Virginia reach her full potential.

G-LtE™: Lesbian Couple Suing Over Harassment While Obtaining Marriage License

The Free Press WV

When marriage equality became law in their hometown in 2014 following the federal court decision in Bostic v. Schaefer, Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich sought out a marriage license in Gilmer County, West Virginia. They were met with derision, harassment and hatred and refused an application by the county clerk’s office. Sixteen months later (following the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges that made marriage equality law of the land nationwide), they tried again and were met with the same level of vitriol and harassment.

Despite that discrimination, they successfully filed for a marriage license application. That success didn’t come without long-lasting repercussions. That’s why Brookover and Abramovich just filed a lawsuit against Gilmer County and several officials that either engaged in or condoned the religion-based harassment they endured throughout the process.

The Free Press WV

Writing at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) – the organization helping file the lawsuit – the couple described the level of harassment they endured at the hands of Gilmer County officials:

Sixteen months later – well after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld marriage equality – we went to the courthouse again for a marriage license. This time, we brought family members with us who were excited to take part in our special day.

When we arrived, the same clerk was on duty. When we asked her for a marriage license, she began shouting at us that we are “an abomination.” She yelled that our desire to marry was wrong and that she believed that God would “deal” with us in time. We asked her to stop, and she told us that she has a religious right to talk this way to us.

In the end, she processed our marriage application – but not before we were left shaking and in tears.

When we complained to the county clerk about this abusive behavior, she defended it and said that any future same-sex couples seeking to marry would receive the same treatment – or worse.

No one should be forced to endure the pain and humiliation Brookover and Abramovich experienced in merely attempting to obtain a government-maintained service in their hometown. Religious proselytization has no place in government services. Moreover, using personal religious belief to deny service and harass taxpayers using a taxpayer-funded government role constitutes a serious breach of constitutional duties.

Discussing the lawsuit against Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen, County Clerk Jean Butcher, and Gilmer County, AU executive director Rev. Barry Lynn argued, “Same-sex couples shouldn’t have to run a gauntlet of harassment, religious condemnation and discrimination in order to realize their dreams of marriage.” Lynn added, “Government officials must apply the law fairly to everyone, regardless of religious beliefs. If these clerks are unable to fulfill their duties, they shouldn’t work in a government office.”

Andrew Schneider, executive director of Fairness West Virginia, echoed that sentiment in a statement saying, “West Virginia is a place that’s known for its hospitality and its adherence to the Golden Rule, to treat others as you’d like to be treated. The behavior of the Gilmer County clerks violates those values by perpetuating fear and intimidation in our community.” Schneider added, “LGBT couples in Gilmer County, and across West Virginia, should be free to be themselves when encountering government officials.”

Fairness West Virginia will be serving as co-counsel with AU presenting Brookover and Abramovich’s lawsuit.

In that lawsuit, the two organizations argue in part:

Here, same-sex couples are not afforded the right to marry on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples because officials at the Gilmer County Clerk’s Office intimidate, humiliate, and harass them when they exercise their legal right to apply for and obtain a marriage license. And when a deputy clerk demeans, insults, or chastises a same-sex couple attempting to obtain a marriage license, County Clerk Jean Butcher defends their behavior because it is consistent with her personal religious convictions.

When Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen saw that a same-sex couple was applying for a marriage license, she did not provide the license on the same terms as for opposite-sex couples. Instead, Allen launched into a tirade of harassment and disparagement. She slammed her paperwork down on her desk, screaming that the couple was an “abomination” to God and that God would “deal” with them. Her rant continued for several minutes. Another clerk joined in, encouraging Allen’s attack on Amanda and Samantha by shouting “it’s [Allen’s] religious right” to harass same-sex couples while performing the official state duties of the Clerk’s office.

Throughout the attack, Amanda remained silent and shaking; Samantha was brought to tears.

When Samantha’s mother later called County Clerk Butcher to report the abusive attack on her daughter and her daughter’s fiancée, Butcher said that the couple deserved it and that the next same-sex couple who attempted to get a marriage license in Gilmer County would get the same or worse.

That’s not all.

After issuing the marriage license, and in a further attempt to deter the couple from marrying, Allen told Amanda and Samantha that officials in Gilmer County had stopped performing marriages after the County had become legally required to recognize same-sex marriages and that no one in Gilmer County would marry the couple.

The lawsuit summarizes the harassment and discrimination concluding:

Amanda and Samantha were made to wait some sixteen months after their initial, lawful application for a marriage license because they were improperly turned away by Defendant Allen. Not only did they suffer emotional distress because of the wrongful denial, but during the intervening period they were denied all the legal (as well as emotional) benefits of marriage, including benefits and privileges under federal and state law; legal rights to make healthcare decisions rights for one’s spouse; legal rights and presumptions concerning the ability to hold real property, bank accounts, and other property in common; important and valuable rights under West Virginia’s estate and intestacy laws; and a host of other privileges under West Virginia family law.

Moreover, the Clerk’s Office is located in the Gilmer County Courthouse, where other government services are provided.

Amanda and Samantha must visit the Courthouse every year to pay property taxes on their automobiles.

Amanda and Samantha are in the process of looking for a house to purchase and, should they do so, will need to visit the Courthouse every year to pay property taxes.

Samantha wishes to register to vote in Gilmer County but fears that she will be harassed once again by Allen at the Courthouse.

Amanda and Samantha reasonably fear that, because of the unconstitutional policies of the Gilmer County Clerk, they will be deprived of equal access to government services in the Gilmer County Courthouse. And they reasonably fear that, when they are forced to enter the Courthouse, they will again be harangued and mistreated by Clerk’s Office personnel.

You can read the full complaint HERE .

Using personal religion to discriminate and harass others using a government position is unconstitutional. It not only violates the Establishment Clause, but also deprives victims their Equal Protection and Due Process rights.

That county officials admitted publicly they would treat all same-sex couples similarly strengthens the case – particularly since federal courts have repeatedly ruled that LGBTQ status cannot be singled out as reasoning for offering differential treatment in government services.

While this should be an open and shut case, given the current federal administration it could become a drawn out affair if the Sessions Justice Department decides to weigh in on the county’s behalf.

~~  Tim Peacock ~~

Gilmer County Clerk: Notice to Creditors and Beneficiaries




The administration of the estates(s) of the following deceased is pending before the Clerk of the County Commission of Gilmer County, 10 Howard Street, Glenville WV 26351.

The names and addresses of the personal representative and the personal representative’s attorney are set forth below.

Notice is hereby given that the estate(s) of the following has been opened for probate.  Any interested person objecting to the validity of the will, the qualifications of the personal representative or the venue or jurisdiction of the court, shall file notice of an objection with the County Commission within ninety days after the date of the first publication or within 30 days of service of notice, whichever is later.  If an objection is not timely filed, the objection is forever barred.

All persons having claims against the estate(s) of the said following deceased, whether due or not, are notified to exhibit their claims, with the voucher thereof, legally verified, to the undersigned, at the County Clerk’s Office on or before June 19, 2017  otherwise they may by law be excluded from all benefit of said estate(s).  All beneficiaries of said estate(s) may appear on or before said day to examine said claims and otherwise protect their interests.

Claims against the estate must be filed in accordance with West Virginia Code 44-1-14a.


Kevin Jensen Matthew Jensen 6751 South Lamar
Littleton, CO 80128
Joanne Collins Jason Drennen 2445 New Holland Road
Wagener, SC 29164
Gladys M. Ellison Patricia A. Golden 525 Kanawha Street
Glenville, WV 26351
Jeffrey Greenlief Tessa Greenlief 374 Flint Rock Hill
Petroleum, WV 26161

Clerk of Gilmer County Commission
Jean Butcher
10 Howard Street
Glenville, WV 26351

The date of the first publication of this Notice is : April 20, 2017


The Free Press WV

  • WV Governor Justice signs bill raising kindergarten, pre-K enrollment age:    The dates by when West Virginia children must enter kindergarten and must be offered free kindergarten and pre-kindergarten are set to change in the coming years.    GAZETTE-MAIL

  • Are frozen veggies as good as the fresh ones?    New research says yes, if not better.    MIC

  • Changes in Sea Levels Will Affect Middle America Too:    Wherever there’s a coast, there can be coastal elites. Rising seas caused by climate change will affect every single state, according to a new University of Georgia study. If the global sea level rises as predicted - 6 feet by 2100 - it could mean 13.1 million environmental refugees migrating from the coasts to previously landlocked states, putting a significant strain on inland resources and infrastructure. Researchers predict that only the wealthy will be able to afford the adaptive measures required to maintain homes with ocean views.    Mashable

  • Incarceration is the wrong way to fight opioid overdoses:  Cops and prosecutors will never be able to fix what is ultimately a medical problem.  THE WASHINGTON POST

  • Ivanka Trump Dines With Xi Jinping, Wins Chinese Trademarks:  Keep your friends close and your business interests closer. The first daughter received approval from Beijing for three trademarks on April 06, the same day she dined with the Chinese president at Mar-a-Lago. Trump placed her business, which has seen record sales since her father’s inauguration, in a blind trust to take a position in the White House. But many are concerned that such wheeling and dealing may breach ethics rules prohibiting the Trump’s family from making government decisions that affect their empire’s bottom line.  Quartz

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  Charleston Civic Center Expansion Cost Climbs by $1.2M

A new change order has brought costs for the Charleston Civic Center expansion project up to nearly $93.6 million.

The Charleston City Council approved the $1.2 million change order Monday.

City Manager David Molgaard says some of the items included were unexpected. The city received a $380,000 bill to replace water pipes that would have burst if used, and spent $170,000 to construct a flood wall to meet new regulations.

The order also includes $130,000 for exterior LED lights and $265,000 for digital signs and software. Other costs include kitchen asbestos removal, a new dishwasher and a repair of a crack to avoid carpet damage.

►  Proposed Marshall Program Would Help Babies Born Addicted

Marshall University is hoping to expand Huntington’s services for babies born addicted to drugs by adding a comprehensive center that would follow babies to kindergarten.

Creators of the plan met Monday with Representative Evan Jenkins to discuss the program. Jenkins pledged his support during the meeting.

The program, created by Marshall’s Healthy Connections Coalition, would provide childcare and services to mothers and families with babies that have neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Portions of the center would be used for childcare, therapy and community support groups. Patients would get personalized care plans to suit their needs.

Marshall students would be able get hands-on experience with patients.

Creators of the plan have submitted multiple grants for funding. Jenkins also said he would help procure funds.

►  State Jobless Rate Lowest in More Than 8 Years

West Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since November 2008.

WorkForce West Virginia says the rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 4.9 percent in March.

The number of unemployed residents fell by 2,300 to 38,100.

Employment gains included 300 in construction, 300 in leisure and hospitality, 100 in mining and logging and 100 in educational and health services.

There were job losses of 1,100 in government, 1,000 in trade, transportation and utilities, 300 in professional and business services and 300 in financial activities.

The national unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent in March.

►  Division of Rehabilitation Services 2016 Annual Report

During fiscal year 2016, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) served 12,553 West Virginians with disabilities and successfully rehabilitated 1,803 into employment.

After receiving vocational rehabilitation services designed to help them obtain employment, those individuals increased their average annual earnings by 204 percent.

These numbers emphasize the powerful impact DRS has on West Virginians, helping those with disabilities to become independent and achieve employment success.

You can read the full 2016 Annual Report by clicking HERE .

►  West Virginia Selected by CMS for Accountable Health Communities Model

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch today announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has selected West Virginia as one of 32 participants for the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) moDelegate The goal is to support local communities in addressing health-related social needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by bridging the gap between clinical and community service providers.

The AHC model is based on a theory that addressing social service needs, such as food insecurity and inadequate or unstable housing, improves the ability for citizens to comply with personal medical regimens and lead healthier lives. Through this CMS-funded grant, West Virginia will implement a controlled trial to test the theory and track health care compliance and health outcomes.

“This is a positive step for West Virginia,” said Crouch. “The AHC model provides a tremendous opportunity to continue working collaboratively with our partners to better support the overall health and well-being of West Virginians. The model is both data-driven and fueled by community-based innovation, and aims to reduce avoidable health care utilization, impact the cost of health care, and improve health and quality of care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.”

The five year grant was awarded to Partners in Health Network, Inc., which will serve as the bridge organization. In addition to Partners in Health Network, the AHC model application was achieved through a public-private sector collaboration including DHHR, CAMC Health Education and Research Institute, West Virginia University (WVU) Center for Excellence in Disabilities, WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health and Quality Insights (formally the West Virginia Medical Institute), West Virginia Family Resource Center and Try This West Virginia. 

“There’s a growing consensus that we cannot solve our health problems in West Virginia and across the country simply by providing more and more health care,” said Clay B. Marsh, M.D., Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences, WVU. “We need to address the whole individual, how he or she lives in a family and community, the economic and social connections that surround each of us, and many other factors. Only then can we begin to create healthy lifestyles. This project will bring WVU experts in family medicine, disability services, and other fields into coordination with rural clinics around the state to test the impact of a more comprehensive model of care on the health and lives of West Virginians.“

Nine health care organizations with 48 clinical sites will be actively screening Medicaid and Medicare patients for health-related social needs.  The organizations include CAMC, Community Care of West Virginia, Highland Hospital, Jackson General Hospital, Minnie Hamilton Health System, Prestera Center, Summersville Regional Medical Center, West Virginia Health Right, WVU Hospitals and WVU Medical Corporation.

“The collaboration, shared leadership and hard work among all our partners was truly outstanding,” said Bob Whitler, Executive Director of Partners in Health Network and Vice President for Government and Community Affairs with CAMC.  “Implementation of this model will ultimately help us better bridge the gap between health care providers and community resources.”

The AHC Assistance Track provides person-centered community service navigation services to assist high-risk beneficiaries with accessing needed services, while the AHC Alignment Track also provides community service navigation services and encourages community-level partner alignment to ensure that necessary services and supports are available and responsive to the beneficiaries’ needs.  The Assistance and Alignment Tracks of the AHC model will begin on May 01, 2017, with a five-year performance period. 

►  West Virginia to Host NCAA Rifle Championships in 2019

West Virginia University will host the NCAA rifle national championships in two years.

The NCAA announced Tuesday that the university will host the event in Morgantown on March 8 and 9 in 2019. It marks the first time that WVU will be the host site for an NCAA championship final.

West Virginia has won five consecutive NCAA rifle titles and 19 overall.

►  After Release Fax Fails, Inmate Commits Suicide

Joshua Miles should have been out of jail last week. Instead, because a release fax failed to transmit the day prior, the 36-year-old remained at South Central Regional Jail in Charleston, WV, where he is believed to have committed suicide. Miles was found unresponsive in his cell early on Thursday and was later pronounced dead, despite medical assistance from jail officials, according to the state’s Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. An investigation pointed to suicide, though officials have released no other details regarding his death, reports the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

A day earlier, a Kanawha County magistrate had tried to fax a release order for Miles to the jail, where he had been placed on February 27; he had allegedly violated the terms of the sentence he received after pleading guilty last year to violating a domestic violence protective order. However, the fax failed to go through, per a “communication result report.“ That report was placed in Miles’ case file in Kanawha Magistrate Court; it’s unclear if anyone reviewed the printout before filing it. A DMAPS rep says there’s no sign that Miles’ release status had a role in his death, reports WVAH. Officials continue to investigate.

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV


His dismissal brings a stunning end to cable news’ most popular program while he continues to deny sexual harassment allegations.


It will measure Democratic energy against the president’s influence ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.


The contributions renew questions about the influence of money in politics, this time for a president who promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington.


The death of the former New England Patriots tight end leaves friends, family and his legal team shocked and in disbelief.


The victims of Kori Ali Muhammad include a 34-year-old father of two young children who had started a new job and a 25-year-old security guard who had recently gotten engaged.


Two people are shot dead as opponents of President Maduro flood the streets of Caracas and other cities to protest against the embattled leader.


Exxon is asking the U.S. government for approval to go back to drilling in Russia that was blocked by sanctions.


A Nevada crash that nearly killed a young woman shows there’s nothing that prevents the devices from being taken from wrecked cars and reused.


Her spokeswoman confirms that the 35-year-old tennis star is expecting a baby this Fall.


They find a new super-Earth that may be not too hot, not too cold for life — and it’s not too far away.

The Free Press WV

The Little Kanawha Association ABW Ministries SPRING RALLY will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at ENON BAPTIST CHURCH.

Registration and light refreshments : 6:00-6:45 pm

Program :  7:00 pm with Mary Beth Chapman as our Speaker and Special Music by Chelsea Hicks..

All women are invited and encouraged to attend… men are invited to attend too.

Questions: contact President Jeane Fisher, Secretary Sue Edwards or Loretta Siers , ish Vannoy from Enon Church.

Come join us for an enjoyable evening of Christian Fellowship.


The Free Press WV

The April meeting of the Gilmer County Democrat Women’s Club will be held on Thursday, April 20th at The Cornerstone Restaurant.

We will eat at 6:00 and the meeting will follow immediately thereafter.

All Democrats are urged to attend and renew their annual membership.

Last month’s meeting had to be cancelled due to the hospitalization of Billy Burke.



Facebook’s next big thing is augmented reality

The social network kicked off its F8 conference on Tuesday, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the company’s plans to move into AR.

Google Earth has rolled out its biggest update yet

It has introduced “Voyager,“ which offers curated journeys around the (virtual) world.

Verizon’s CEO says he’s open to merger talks with Comcast, Disney, or CBS

Shares rose around 1% following the report.

Apple has made its Microsoft Office killer available for free

Anyone can now download iWork.

Yahoo beat earnings expectations, but its stock went nowhere

It’s likely to be its last earnings report before the Verizon acquisition closes.

IBM’s revenue has now fallen for 20 quarters in a row

Its revenue dropped by more than expected in its most recent earnings report, causing its stock to drop 3.7%.

Snapchat is releasing its most impressive use of augmented reality to date

The app has announced World Lenses, which overlay virtual objects in the real worl.

If the latest iPhone 8 rumours are true, Samsung should be worried

The next iPhone is rumoured to have a bigger OLED screen, a glass-and-steel design, and no home button.

There’s a Google Doc shared by hundreds of techies to create a core set of values for Silicon Valley

Y Combinator president Sam Altman is working with others to sketch out the industry’s positions on a number of political, social, and economic issues.

Facebook wants people to hang out with their friends in virtual reality

It has announced Facebook Spaces, an app that gives people virtual avatars.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►  3 Arrests as White Nationalist Speaks at Auburn

White nationalist Richard Spencer spoke in a crowded auditorium at Auburn University on Tuesday after a federal judge blocked the Alabama school from banning his appearance. Only a few chairs were empty in the 400-seat-plus room as Spencer and other speakers railed against ethnicity and racial diversity, liberals, the media, and more, saying they wanted to promote “white pride,“ the AP reports. Supporters and opponents engaged in shouting matches beforehand. An Auburn police spokesman says three people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges.

Video posted online shows two men scuffling outside the building where Spencer spoke, with one suffering a facial cut and bleeding afterward. Officers led both men away, and one woman also was handcuffed. A judge cleared the way for Spencer’s speech after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by a Georgia man who rented the room where he spoke. The suit claimed the university violated free-speech rights by trying to stop Spencer’s appearance. Auburn officials cited public safety concerns in trying to stop Spencer from appearing in the student union building.

►  Drive-Thru Workers Could Get $50K ‘Facebook Killer’ Reward

The McDonald’s employees who bravely held up the order of an armed and dangerous customer could be in line for a big payday. Police were able to catch up with alleged “Facebook killer” Steve Stephens after drive-thru workers at the Erie, Pa., McDonald’s recognized him Tuesday morning and tried to stall him, meaning the workers could be in line for the $50,000 reward offered by the FBI, ATF, and US Marshals Service for the arrest of the fugitive, TMZ reports. Stephens, on the run after allegedly killing an elderly man in Cleveland, wasn’t arrested: He shot and killed himself after a police chase, but law enforcement officials say there’s still a very good chance that the workers could get the reward.

►  George HW Bush Hospitalized in Houston

Former President George HW Bush has been hospitalized in Houston for four days with a recurrence of a case of pneumonia he had earlier in the year, a family spokesperson said Tuesday. The 92-year-old former president and father of a former president has been in Methodist Hospital in Houston since Friday for observation because of a persistent cough, Jim McGrath said in a brief statement. He said doctors diagnosed a mild case of pneumonia that has been treated and resolved. The former president “is in very good spirits and is being held for further observation while he regains his strength,“ the AP quotes McGrath as saying.

Bush, who served as president from 1989 to 1993, had spent 16 days in the hospital for treatment of pneumonia in January. He was hospitalized in 2015 in Maine after falling at his summer home and breaking a bone in his neck. He was also hospitalized in Houston the previous December for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues. Bush has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility. Despite his loss of mobility, Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump. Last summer, Bush led a group of 40 wounded warriors on a fishing trip at the helm of his speedboat, three days after his 92nd birthday celebration.

►  A Sister Cracks a Murder Case, a Shocking Discovery Follows

Kalimah Truesdale isn’t a lawyer or a member of the NYPD. In fact, when she got the call informing her that her brother was being charged with murder, she was at her job at Home Depot. And yet she was “the one who cracked” the 2009 case, Robert Grossman, a lawyer whose specialty is post-conviction cases, tells the New Yorker. The magazine outlines a little sister’s dogged quest to free her wrongfully convicted brother. That phone call came in 2011, two years after a teen was murdered in her Bronx neighborhood. Steven Odiase, then 25 and five years older than his sister, was identified by a self-admitted “buzzed” witness as one of the two shooters and convicted. And Truesdale’s quest began. She began asking around, and secretly recording anyone who seemed to know something about the crime.

And she found something—a female eyewitness who said it wasn’t Odiase—but a new motion was denied and Odiase was in 2013 sentenced to 25 years to life. It was Odiase who learned about Grossman and his partner, Jonathan Edelstein, and they followed up on Truesdale’s digging, sending a PI to talk to the woman. She said she had told what she saw to a detective. That confused Truesdale, who didn’t remember seeing her name in the police report. What happened next caused Grossman to exclaim “Holy s—-!“ The attorneys ended up with two copies of the police report, one that referenced the woman, and one that didn’t. Odiase’s trial attorney had been given the latter. “This was not an accident,“ Edelstein says. On Monday, the guilty verdict was vacated and Odiase was released; the Bronx DA tells the New York Times she is not sure whether she will retry the case. Read the New Yorker’s PIECE IN FULL.

►  After the Prom: Busted Phone, One Shoe, Missing Teen

A 17-year-old high school student in Idaho signed out of his senior prom at exactly 9:32pm Friday, but he never returned home—a lone shoe, his tux jacket, and a busted cellphone were found near the car he came in, KREM reports. Kristian Perez’s family says no one’s heard from him since he left the event Friday night, and local police say in a statement in the Idaho County Free Press that they’ve obtained a search warrant for his phone and are now scouring his call and text logs for possible clues. Cops say Kristian’s mom reported him missing when he didn’t come home after the prom, which was held at the National Guard Armory in Orofino.

Per KLEW, a police dog-sniffing team tried to follow Kristian’s scent, which apparently led west from the armory, but the scent vanished right at the entrance to a parking lot along the same highway the armory is located on. Investigators speculate Kristian may have gotten into a vehicle at that location. Cops say in the statement that a possible sighting of Kristian in Lewiston, about an hour away, came up empty after they reviewed a surveillance tape and concluded the person seen in the video wasn’t the missing teen.

►  California Secession Bid Fails: Leader Is Living in Russia

Supporters of one long-shot bid to make California an independent nation ended their effort on Monday, while another group said it will launch a new campaign for a statewide vote next year, reports the AP. The Yes California Independence Campaign faltered after its president, Louis Marinelli, revealed ties to Russia. Marinelli’s wife is a Russian national who has struggled with the US immigration process, notes the San Diego Union-Tribune. In a lengthy message to supporters Monday, Marinelli said he is in Russia and seeking permanent residence because of his “frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States.“ The secretary of state’s office confirmed that Marcus Ruiz Evans, the group’s vice president, withdrew the California Nationhood ballot measure.

Evans said he was leaving the Yes California group and joining the California Freedom Coalition, which he described as a grassroots organizing effort that evolved since last year’s election. The coalition plans to file its own ballot measure in coming weeks, without the baggage of Marinelli’s Russian ties, said Steve Gonzales, the new group’s secretary-treasurer and board member. “It prevented Yes California from getting any serious money, I can tell you that,“ Gonzales said. The coalition would need to collect more than 585,000 signatures to qualify a ballot measure declaring California’s independence for the November 2018 ballot. Congress and 38 states would have had to agree to change the Constitution to permit California to actually secede.

►  Family: Merrell Shoe Founder’s Missing Wife Has Survival Skills

The woman who was swept down a remote creek in Grand Canyon National Park on Saturday is the wife of a popular outdoor footwear company founder, leaving her family hoping the 62-year-old has the skills to keep her stepgrandson and herself alive until they’re found. Lou-Ann Merrell, wife of Randy Merrell—who helped found the Merrell Boot Co. in 1981 and was also on the trip—and Jackson Standefer, 14, lost their footing during a family trip in the Arizona park and fell into Tapeats Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River. Mark McOmie, Jackson’s uncle, tells the AP the water roars down through rocks, so the family is hoping the two could be on a boulder or have found a cave for shelter. McOmie, who was not on the trip, says the Merrells are avid hikers and know the North Rim area, which only 10% of Grand Canyon visitors go to, well.

Lou-Ann Merrell is “a very experienced backpacker,“ McOmie says. “If they can get to a spot where they cannot be in the water and stay warm, she’s got the skills needed to get them through it.“ But “the odds aren’t great,“ he adds. McOmie says searchers have found the pair’s backpacks with belongings inside, which the family has interpreted with mixed feelings: It looks as if they were able to get their backpacks off, but “they don’t have their gear,“ McOmie says. The park service still hasn’t determined what went wrong. The Merrells live in Utah; Jackson is an eighth-grade student at the all-boys McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn. The search resumed Tuesday and includes three ground teams plus a helicopter, drone, and a motorized boat. Officials were alerted when an emergency GPS locator beacon was set off below the canyon’s North Rim, says a National Park Service Representative

►  Dad’s Lesson in Honesty Costs Him $14K

An Ohio man says he was trying to set a good example for his children when he turned in $14,000 he found on the side of the road. Jake Bowers found the money April 8 as he drove his family to a park in Worthington, a Columbus suburb, reports the AP. Bowers says when he initially saw what he tells the Worthington News was a “blue felt bag” on the roadside, he thought it might contain someone’s laptop. Instead, it was filled with $100 bills.

Bowers and his family drove straight to the Worthington police station, and the bag was returned to its owner. It wasn’t too hard to find him: WBNS-10TV reports a wallet containing the owner’s ID was inside the bag. Bowers tells the News it would have been nice to put the money toward his car loans, but he had something more valuable in his hands: “the opportunity to help restore someone’s faith in humanity.“ A police report says the owner had taken the cash to a car dealer but left without buying a vehicle. He told police he must have left it on top of his car and driven off.

►  Highway Buckles, Sends Motorcyclist Flying

Another major highway through Atlanta was partially shut down on Monday, this one after underground utility work caused the pavement to rise up, break apart, and send a passing motorcyclist flying through the air. While the east-west highway could reopen as soon as Tuesday, the rupture was another headache for Atlanta area motorists already struggling with the collapse of an overpass on a key north-south route. Witnesses say the motorcyclist was riding in the carpool lane when the pavement suddenly rose up in front of him, the AP reports. Others rushed to his aid. DeKalb County spokesman Andrew Cauthen says the man was hospitalized with multiple fractures.

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The buckling was caused by a utility crew using machinery to bore a new natural gas pipeline under Interstate 20, authorities say. DeKalb County police spokeswoman Shiera Campbell says a pipeline being filled with concrete ruptured, and the concrete was forced upward. The pressure caused the pavement to rise and break apart, creating a mound as high as six feet or more in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. The Atlanta Gas Light company says it was performing work in the area, but the incident did not involve natural gas. Authorities hope to have the entire road reopened by noon Tuesday.

►  1 Dead After Army Helicopter Crashes Into Golf Course

A Black Hawk helicopter crashed onto a golf course in Maryland during a routine training flight Monday, killing one crew member and injuring two others, the US Army said. The cause of the crash is under investigation, the US Army Military District of Washington said in a statement Monday evening, per the AP. “We are deeply saddened by this loss within our community,“ said Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region and the US Army Military District of Washington. “Our condolences go out to the families and friends affected by this tragedy, and our team is focused on supporting them during this difficult time.“

Three crew members were aboard the UH-60 Blackhawk. The Army said one person is in serious condition and one is in critical condition. They are being treated at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. They were not identified, pending notification of relatives. The aircraft was from the 12th Aviation Battalion, stationed at Davison Airfield, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Kevin Bowen, who works in the pro shop of the Breton Bay Golf and Country Club, said he saw the helicopter “flying kind of low” and then “saw it spinning” before it went down between the third and fourth holes of the course in Leonardtown, about 60 miles southeast of Washington, DC.

►  Teen, Grandma Swept Away on Family Grand Canyon Trip

Authorities searched Grand Canyon National Park on Monday for a teenager and his step-grandmother who were swept away as they tried to cross a creek during a family trip in a remote part of the park, the AP reports. Two fellow hikers in their group alerted officials over the weekend by setting off an emergency GPS locator beacon in the backcountry below the canyon’s North Rim, according to Chief Ranger Matt Vandzura of the National Park Service. He said the 14-year-old boy and 62-year-old woman lost their footing and were swept away Saturday in Tapeats Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River that runs through the Arizona landmark.

Vandzura said it’s too early in the investigation to determine what went wrong. No rain or flash flooding was reported in the area, but it was not known whether the water level of the creek was higher than usual. Creeks in the canyon often see higher water levels in the spring as snow melts, Vandzura said. An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter searched for the missing pair Saturday night, and the Park Service sent a helicopter and several ground crews to comb the area Sunday. The Park Service resumed the search Monday with ground crews, a helicopter and a drone.

►  ‘Despair’ Led to College Prof’s ‘Trump Must Hang’ Tweet

An ill-advised tweet about Trump has led to a “voluntary leave of absence” for a history instructor at Fresno State, per a university statement cited by the Fresno Bee. Fresno State President Joseph Castro says Lars Maischak will spend the rest of the spring semester doing research instead of teaching after a February tweet Maischak sent out to a few dozen followers, the Washington Post reports. “To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better,“ he wrote in a tweet that the Post notes stayed “lost in the ether” until Breitbart publicized it and other Maischak tweets in an April 08 article. The FBI and Secret Service got involved in the probe, and an online petition went up calling for Maischak’s firing for “inciting violence.“

In a written statement to the Bee last week, Maischak apologized for the “cathartic” tweet, which he said wasn’t meant to spur violence and was “the end point of a dark train of thought” from his “despair over the actions of the present US government.“ He said he didn’t think anyone other than a few people who knew him well would ever read his remarks and that he has taken down his Twitter account so no one sees his comments as “encouragement to act violently or unlawfully.“ USA Today notes the spotlight is once again on academia viewed as “elitist” by some. “[This is] why universities across the country are now viewed with disdain by average, salt-of-the-earth Americans,“ the Breitbart article read. Subtitutes will take over Maischak’s classes, the university notes.

In The World….

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►  10 Vehicles Most Likely to Hit 200K Miles

Hoping your car makes it to 200,000 miles? An analysis at finds that the odds are steep. Any vehicle can make it with proper maintenance, notes the site, but it looked at all the models on the road and found that the industry average is just 1.3%. Here’s a look at the top performers, along with the percentage of those models to reach the milestone:

  1. Ford Expedition 5.7%
  2. Toyota Sequoia 5.6%
  3. Chevrolet Suburban 4.8%
  4. Toyota 4Runner 4.7%
  5. GMC Yukon XL 4.2%
  6. Chevrolet Tahoe 3.5%
  7. GMC Yukon 3.0%
  8. Toyota Avalon 2.6%
  9. Toyota Tacoma 2.5%
  10. Honda Accord 2.3% (tie)
  11. Honda Odyssey 2.3% (tie)

And the top 10, not counting SUVs or trucks:

  1. Toyota Avalon 2.6%
  2. Honda Accord 2.3% (tie)
  3. Honda Odyssey 2.3% (tie)
  4. Ford Taurus 1.9%
  5. Chevrolet Impala 1.5% (tie)
  6. Toyota Camry 1.5% (tie)
  7. Nissan Maxima 1.5% (tie)
  8. Toyota Sienna 1.4%
  9. Honda Civic 1.3% (tie)
  10. Dodge Grand Caravan 1.3% (tie)
  11. Subaru Legacy 1.3% (tie)

Click for the FULL RANKINGS.

►  Russian Bombers ‘Show Their Teeth’ in Alaska Fly-By

“Nothing to see here,“ was US military officials’ reaction to an incident this week involving Russia off the coast of Alaska—even though the Air Force sent two F-22 fighter jets and an early-warning plane to address the situation. A spokeswoman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command tells the New York Times that two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers zipped within 100 miles of Kodiak Island Monday evening, within a few hundred miles of the airspace around the US and Canada known as the Air Defense Identification Zone. Fox News first reported on the incident after US officials confirmed that the bombers, which are said to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, flew about 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force Base, causing the US to scramble the F-22s and an E-3 early-warning plane to intercept them.

Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, head of Alaska’s NORAD region, tells the Alaska Dispatch News Monday’s incident, from detection to interception, took place over about two hours, between 6pm and 8pm. He noted there was no communication between the US and Russian pilots during the “extremely proficient” maneuvers, though they “waved at one other.“ But even though GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger told Wolf Blitzer on CNN the Russians were “trying to show their teeth,“ US military officials said the incident was “nothing out of the ordinary” and “not dissimilar from what we’ve seen in the past with respect to Russian long-range aviation.“ Fox notes that July 4, 2015, was the last time Russian bombers hovered so close to the US, when two bombers flew near Alaska and California, coming within 40 miles of Mendocino.

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