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West Virginia residents admit to their roles in a methamphetamine distribution operation

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Three West Virginia residents have admitted to their roles in a meth distribution operation, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.

Jerry Lee Stewart, Jr., 28, of Weston, West Virginia, pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine” and one count of “Carrying a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime.” Stewart admitted to conspiring with others to distribute methamphetamine in Upshur County and elsewhere from March 2016 to September 2017. He also admitted to possessing a 9mm caliber pistol and a .22 caliber pistol while committing a drug trafficking crime in April 2017 in Lewis County.

Reggie Joe McLain, age 38, of Buckhannon, West Virginia pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.” McLain admitted to conspiring with others to distribute methamphetamine in Upshur County and elsewhere from March 2016 to September 2017.

Casey Jo Richards, age 28, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, pled guilty to one count of “Distribution of Methamphetamine.” Richards admitted to distributing crystal meth in April 2017 in Harrison County.

Stewart and McLain each face up to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000,000 for the conspiracy count. Stewart also faces up to five years incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the firearms count. Richards faces up to 20 years incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner is prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, The Mountain Region Drug & Violent Crime Task Force, the Greater Harrison Drug &Violent Crime Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, the West Virginia State Police, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, the Buckhannon Police Department, and the Weston Police Department are investigating.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.

Did You Know?

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SUPPORT WAVERS FOR TAX OVERHAUL

The GOP’s razor-thin margin for driving its sweeping tax package through the Senate is thrown into jeopardy when GOP Senator Marco Rubio declares that, at this point, he will vote against it.


FCC REPEALS ‘NET NEUTRALITY’

The move gives internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds.


PUTIN WEIGHS IN ON ‘COLLUSION’

The Russian leader says the U.S. is only hurting itself with drawn-out investigations of alleged links between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.


WHICH SYSTEM TRUMP WANTS TO SCRAP

The White House is embarking on a major campaign to turn public opinion against the nation’s largely family-based immigration policies.


OMAROSA HINTS AT REVELATIONS TO COME

The former “Apprentice” star denies she was fired from her job at the White House — while teasing that she has stories to tell about what she’s seen and heard there.


U.S.: WEAPONS SHIPMENTS VIOLATE UN RESOLUTIONS

Ambassador Nikki Haley says “undeniable” evidence proves Iran is arming Houthi rebels in Yemen, the latest bid by the Trump administration to rally the world against the Persian Gulf nation.


SUSPECT IN CAR ATTACK FACES STIFFER CHARGE

The man accused of driving a car into people protesting a white nationalist rally this summer in Charlottesville has his most serious charge upgraded to first-degree murder.


WHAT’S SIGN OF MOTOWN MOMENTUM

An 800-foot-tall (244-meter) centerpiece is coming to Detroit’s resurgent downtown as the city continues to build after exiting the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.


FAR-AWAY STAR SYSTEM ECHOES OUR OWN

An eight-planet solar system has been discovered many light-years away, tying our own solar system for the most planets observed around a single star.


WHO’S MARKING ‘SURVIVORS NIGHT’

Hundreds of Holocaust survivors take part in Hanukkah candle lightings in Berlin, Jerusalem and New York — part of a tribute to survivors worldwide.

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The Glenville State College Brass Ensemble will once again entertain shoppers and guests at the Charleston Town Center Mall on Saturday, December 16 with a selection of holiday music.

The ensemble is under the direction of GSC Assistant Professor of Music and Department Chair Dr. Lloyd Bone and consists of 20 students. They will be performing from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. at Macy’s Court in the mall on what is expected to be one of the top three busiest shopping days of 2017.

“As always, this is a big honor. We have developed a large following of people who come out from all over the Charleston area and beyond to see us every year. This is one of my favorite performances of the year as I love Christmas music and we perform for very large crowds and get to see lots of GSC alumni. Also, it is always such a great day as the Charleston Town Center Mall employees, staff, and office personnel are so cordial, professional, and accommodating. In addition, the students always put on an excellent performance and represent GSC at a very high level,” said Bone.

For more information about the GSC Brass Ensemble or music degree programs at GSC, contact Bone at or 304.462.6340.

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Three U.S. men have pleaded guilty to the Mirai botnet attack, which took down Reddit, Twitter, and other popular sites last year

The three men had launched the attack in order to get an advantage in the popular game “Minecraft.“


Facebook said a single Russian group spent less than $1 on three ads during the UK’s Brexit vote, which were seen by 200 British users at most

The MP probing Russian meddling in the referendum, Damian Collins, disputed Facebook’s claims and said the firm needed to carry out further investigations.


iPhone X adoption has overtaken that of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, new analytic show

Mixpanel data shows iPhone X adoption currently stands at 4.76%, ahead of the iPhone 8 Plus at 3.59% and the iPhone 8 at 2.78%


Spotify, Deezer, and other European digital firms have once again written to EU officials to complain about their larger U.S. rivals

A joint letter argued that US firms like Amazon and Apple “abuse” their position to maintain dominance.


Microsoft will integrate artificial intelligence into its search engine Bing for smarter use — such as getting multiple answers to a question, and conversational search

It’s also struck a partnership with Reddit to surface results from the site more effectively.


Google will roll out Assistant to older phones and tablets running Android

Assistant will now be available on phones running Android Lollipop 5.0, tablets on 7.0 Nougat, and 6.0 Marshmallow.


Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said he’s “thinking” about a much-demanded feature for the platform, an edit button

Dorsey asked users for their top feature suggestions and asked for more detail from those who suggested the edit button.


Bitcoin briefly slumped on Wednesday below $16,000, resulting in futures to temporarily halt trading on Cboe’s exchange

Futures trading on Cboe has only been available since Sunday.


Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya has again criticised Silicon Valley culture, this time Uber

He described Uber as “the great American tragedy” playing out in a company.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • As Even Republicans Cheer Loss, Moore Won’t Concede:  We haven’t heard the last of him. Even after President Donald Trump acknowledged his stunning defeat, former Alabama judge Roy Moore says he’s not conceding to Democrat Doug Jones and is waiting for official vote counts. Jones, a former prosecutor, prevailed 50 percent to 48 percent over Moore, who lost the advantage of the state’s deeply conservative electorate after multiple accusations of sexual assault and child molestation. Meanwhile, Alabama’s senior Sen. Richard Shelby said he and other Republicans were “relieved” at not having someone “so radioactive” in their midst.  The Hill


  • Team Tamps Down ‘Washington Redhawks’ Hoax:  It was a trick play. Activist group Rising Hearts launched an elaborate media blitz announcing that Washington’s NFL team was changing its name from the Redskins to the Redhawks. Using fake web pages made to look like ESPN, The Washington Post, Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated, the “coverage” quoted owner Dan Synder saying he was honoring Native Americans. It forced the team to defend the controversial moniker, which it insists it’ll keep. The group says the stunt was meant to show how “easy, popular and powerful” a name change could be.  Politico


  • Silicon Valley Hopes Algorithms Can Avert Suicides:  These bots want to get inside your head. Small-time developers and tech giants alike are hoping to prevent suicides by monitoring warning signs online, employing algorithms to spot patterns of troubling commentary on social media — or even subtle factors like smartphone scrolling speed — that humans might overlook. Experts believe it’s worth trying: Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young Americans. Some worry about potential privacy issues, and false positives could create problems, but others say traditional efforts like suicide hotlines simply aren’t doing enough.  Scientific American


  • Report: Governments Jailing Journalists More Than Ever  They’re speaking power to truth. The Committee to Protect Journalists’ annual census reveals that a record 262 reporters were jailed in 2017. Most — 87 percent — were covering politics and many were imprisoned on vague terror-related charges. Deniz Yücel, for example, is one of 73 reporters detained in dissent-stifling Turkey, which remains the world’s top jailer of journalists. “Authoritarianism is on the rise and journalists are paying the price,” CPJ’s director explained. He added that President Trump’s hostility toward the media “undermines the value of the press” worldwide.  Huffington Post


  • Technology, Technology:   Las Vegas casinos now are using microwave technology to try to keep guns out of the gaming rooms.  Wired


  • Bon Jovi, Dire Straits Among Rock Hall Inductees:  They’ve made their marks. Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, The Cars, Dire Straits and Nina Simone in an April 14 ceremony. Devotees of Radiohead, Depeche Mode and the other 12 nominees may be disappointed, but at least the decision was democratic: Fans and 900 industry insiders voted on the selection. Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward, who had long dismissed the museum as being too American, changed his tune: “On Friday, I couldn’t really have cared less, but on Saturday the whole world looked different.”  Rolling Stone

Harmony Baptist Church in Wetzel County Donates Blankets and Super Hero Capes

The American Baptist Women’s Association from the Harmony Baptist Church in Burton, West Virginia recently donated blankets and super hero capes for pediatric patients and blankets for oncology patients at United Hospital Center.

The Free Press WV
Pictured left: Sharon Mitchell, RN, pediatric nurse manager at UHC; Linda Rudderforth, member of the American Baptist Women’s Association with the Harmony Baptist Church; Barbara Brasher, member of the American Baptist Women’s Association with the Harmony Baptist Church; Tiffany Brinkley, RN, pediatric clinical supervisor at UHC; and Gretchen Hennigan, RN, clinical navigator at the Cecil B. Highland, Jr. & Barbara B. Highland Cancer Center at UHC.

ETC.

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  • Turkish Leader Urges Recognition of Palestinian Capital:  He wants to reciprocate. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is asking Muslim nations’ leaders to recognize Jerusalem as the “occupied capital of the Palestinian state.” The statement to an emergency meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation was a response to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which Erdogan called a “terror state.” He pronounced U.S. recognition and plans to move its embassy to the holy city “null and void.” While rhetoric at the meeting was strong, Erdogan did not mention earlier threats to cut Ankara’s longstanding ties with Israel.  Reuters


  • ‘Feminism’ Is Merriam-Webster’s Word of 2017:  Hear it roar. The dictionary defines its pick as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” “Feminism” got 70 percent more searches than last year, especially relating to its second definition: “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” It spiked after January’s women’s marches, Kellyanne Conway’s disavowal of the concept, buzz over The Handmaid’s Tale and Wonder Woman, and the ongoing power of the #MeToo movement. Merriam-Webster’s other popular searches included “empathy” and “dotard,” while Dictionary.com named “complicit” as its word of 2017.  Rolling Stone


  • Prehistoric Ticks Discovered Preserved in Amber:  And we still can’t get rid of them. Burmese amber from 99 million years ago has yielded five prehistoric ticks — one tangled in a dinosaur feather — suggesting the little suckers were pestering dinosaurs long before exasperating humans. The discovery includes a previously unknown species, Deinocroton draculi, or “Dracula’s terrible tick,” which is unlike any living today. While scientists aren’t planning a real-life Jurassic Park — they can’t analyze degraded DNA in the blood preserved inside the parasites — they’re not ruling it out forever, noting, “Science advances very fast.”  The Verge


  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is Not the Movie You’re Expecting:  Here’s our spoiler-free review.  ESQUIRE

The Community Education Outreach Services (CEOS) in Doddridge County Makes Donations

The Bloomers Club Community Education Outreach Services (CEOS) in Doddridge County recently donated items to UHC’s Embracing Invisible Wings and knitted caps for obstetrics.

The Free Press WV
Pictured left are Catherine McMillan, member; Shirley McGill, member; Linda Bonnell, member; Lee Ann Romeo, RNC, childbirth educator, lactation counselor at United Hospital Center; Nancy Cumberledge, member; Jane Underwood, member; and Pat McMillan, member.

Did You Know?

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WHO REPUBLICANS ARE BLAMING FOR ALABAMA SENATE LOSS

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon is being singled out, but he shows no signs of abandoning his guerrilla war against the GOP establishment.


COMCAST, VERIZON, AT&T ABOUT TO GET MORE FREE REIN

The FCC is voting to undo Obama-era rules that kept broadband providers from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.


DISNEY BUYING LARGE PART OF 21ST CENTURY FOX

The deal gives Disney film businesses including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000. On the television side, Disney will get Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21.


HOW PALESTINIANS VIEW TRUMP’S DECLARATION

Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem are at turns cynical, defiant and fearful after Trump’s recognition of the contested city as Israel’s capital.


FEDERAL JUDGES TO EXAMINE DRUG STASH-HOUSE STINGS

A potentially landmark hearing will consider evidence on whether the phony operations that overwhelmingly target suspects in black neighborhoods are racially biased.


DISPARITY SEEN IN GOP TAX ACCORD

Generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans would be delivered in the sweeping overhaul while middle- and low-income families would receive smaller tax cuts.


CORONER: ACCUSED KENTUCKY LAWMAKER’S DEATH APPARENTLY SUICIDE

Dan Johnson, a Republican state legislator accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in the basement of his home, also compared the Obamas to monkeys in Facebook posts.


DECADE SINCE GREAT RECESSION: THRIVING CITIES LEAVE OTHERS BEHIND

Many Southern and Midwestern cities have yet to recover from the loss of manufacturing jobs that have been automated out of existence or lost to competition from China, data analyzed for AP finds.


WHAT GAY ADVOCATES ARE WATCHING FOR

How a child support fight between a divorced lesbian couple plays out in Hawaii, something experts say is likely the first such case before a state Supreme Court.


AS OLYMPICS NEAR, SOUTH KOREA AGONIZES OVER COSTS

If history is any indicator, post-games expenses and huge financial strain would be placed on Pyeongchang — one of its poorest regions.

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The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Economic Development Association

Annual Membership Meeting

Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.

Glenville Inn Board Room

Light Refreshments Available

Quarterly Board Meeting to follow Annual Membership Meeting

 

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The Free Press WV

 

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Apple’s most expensive computer to date, the iMac Pro, is going on sale this week

The powerful machine will cost $5,000, and comes with high-performance Intel Xeon processors, powerful AMD graphics card options, and a distinctive “space grey” finish.


Facebook has, unusually, hit back at a former exec who said he felt guilty about helping to make the social network

The firm said it was a “different company” when former growth VP Chamath Palihapitiya worked there, and that it was “working hard to improve.“


Google is opening an artificial intelligence research center in Beijing, in recognition of China’s fast-growing AI talent pool

Google is banned in China but still has hundreds of employees in the country.


One major flagship phone could have an on-screen fingerprint sensor in the next year

Synaptics, which makes in-display sensors, has said it’s in mass production with one of the top five manufacturers globally but didn’t say which.


Groupon founder Andrew Mason has launched a new startup called Descript, which helps podcast makers to edit audio using text

Descript uses AI to transcribe audio, then lets you edit that audio by deleting the text.


Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus has joined the board of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, as bitcoin booms

Marcus was formerly president of PayPal.


Twitter has turned tweetstorming into an official product

The company has added a button beneath its update box which lets you add and thread extra tweets.


San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee, has died at the age of 63

Lee was the first city mayor with Chinese ancestry, and presided over the city’s modern tech boom.


France is banning smartphones from schools

The measure will come into effect from 2018, and apply to any pupil from the age of six.


Apple will invest in a company which makes chips for the iPhone X and Airpods

The iPhone maker said it was putting $390 million into US-headquartered Finisar.

Did You Know?

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DEMOCRAT WINS IN STUNNING ALABAMA UPSET

Doug Jones won the state’s special Senate election, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and Trump, who endorsed Roy Moore despite a litany of sexual misconduct allegations.


TRUMP TWEET DRAWS HEATED REPLY

Democrats admonish the president for what they say is an innuendo-laden attack on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand declaring she “would do anything” to get campaign donations.


U.S. SOFTENS STANCE ON TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA

Secretary of State Tillerson calls it “unrealistic” to expect the nuclear-armed country to come to the table ready to give up its weapons of mass destruction program.


GOP LAWMAKERS SPEED TOWARD PASSAGE OF TAX OVERHAUL

The massive package includes a flurry of last-minute changes that could profoundly affect the pocketbooks of millions of Americans.


SAN FRANCISCO’S MAYOR DIES SUDDENLY AT 67

Edwin Lee oversaw a technology-driven economic boom in the city that brought with it sky-high housing prices.


WHO’S PERSONA NON GRATA AT GLOBAL CLIMATE SUMMIT

At the gathering in France, world leaders, investors and other Americans assail Trump for rejecting the Paris climate accord.


SCIENTISTS SOUND FRESH ALARM ON GLOBAL WARMING

A new report card shows permafrost in the Arctic is thawing at a faster pace than before.


SOCIAL NETWORK BLAMED FOR SOCIAL ILLS

Some of Facebook’s early friends are now its sharpest critics, accusing it and other social media giants of addicting their users and undermining democracy.


WHICH FLICK IS GETTING ROYAL TREATMENT

Prince William and Prince Harry join the cast of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at the film’s European premiere.


FOR EX-YANKEE GREAT, A RARE STUMBLE

Derek Jeter is trying to revive the downtrodden Miami Marlins — but so far he appears out of his league as a CEO.

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The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Economic Development Association

Annual Membership Meeting

Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.

Glenville Inn Board Room

Light Refreshments Available

Quarterly Board Meeting to follow Annual Membership Meeting

 

The Free Press WV

 

The Free Press WV

 

The Free Press WV

 

The Free Press WV

 

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Apple confirmed its pending acquisition of British music recognition startup Shazam

There’s little official detail, but an early investor told Business Insider why it’s a good deal.


A former Facebook executive said social networks were “destroying” how society works

Chamath Palihapitiya worked on user growth at Facebook until 2011, and said he felt “tremendous guilt” about what he had helped create.


Google has launched three experimental photo apps that draw on technologies it is developing

The Storyboard app turns your photos into a comic strip, Selfissimo! takes automated black-and-white selfies, and Scrubbies creates looping video.


The head of the SEC, Jay Clayton, has warned investors about the risks of cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

Clayton warned investors to be wary, but said the underlying technology could provide strong investment opportunities.


The chief executive of Silicon Valley food startup Soylent, Rob Rhinehart, is out

He has handed the reins to president Bryan Crowley, and will stay on as executive chairman.


Apple will now let iOS users “pre-order” upcoming apps on their devices

Customers can see a developer’s product page on iTunes, pre-order a pending app, and then it will automatically download to their device.


A group of ex-employees from Gawker, the now defunct gossip site, have launched a Kickstarter to try and buy back Gawker.com

The group wants to relaunch the publication, though cofounder Nick Denton is not involved.


South Korea has reportedly clamped down immediately on bitcoin futures, preventing local firms from handling transactions

Bitcoin futures launched on Sunday night on Canada’s Cboe exchange.


The city of Paris launched a crackdown on Airbnb, asking the home rentals site to remove 1,000 listings not registered with the French capital’s authorities

If it doesn’t comply, the city will launch legal action.


China’s equivalent to Google, Baidu, now offers a service that lets you see if your website is banned in China

It can also tell you which parts of your site are loading slowly or failing to display at all.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • WV SBA approves nearly $60 million in school construction, renovation projects:  The West Virginia School Building Authority board Monday awarded about $59.1 million in construction and renovation money to 22 counties   CHARLESTON GAZETTE-MAIL


  • With Comcast Out, Disney-Fox Deal Advances:  They let it go. Comcast has given up on acquiring much of 21st Century Fox, leaving Walt Disney Co. the sole suitor for Rupert Murdoch’s multinational media assets. The likely $40 billion-plus acquisition includes Fox’s FX and National Geographic networks and its movie studios, but not Fox News or Fox Sports 1. It’ll need approval from U.S. antitrust regulators, who’ve recently sued to block AT&T’s $85 billion bid for CNN-owning Time Warner, but the Murdoch family reportedly doesn’t expect trouble, and the companies may announce a deal this week.  Reuters


  • Synthetic DNA Offers Hope Against Degenerative Diseases:  They’re onto something. British researchers think they can stop incurable Huntington’s disease in its tracks. By injecting a synthetic molecule into patients’ spinal cords during a clinical trial, they targeted the Huntington’s gene and stopped it from producing the harmful protein that kills nerve cells. The breakthrough’s so promising that researchers battling other brain-wasting illnesses like Alzheimer’s are getting excited. And even if it’s far from clear whether the therapy amounts to a complete cure, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has already shelled out $45 million to license further studies.  Quartz


  • Why conservatives should embrace Robert Mueller.  Not just because he’s the only person who could credibly exonerate President Trump.  Just Security

  • The latest attacks on the special counsel are dangerous and disingenuous.  The Washington Post

  • They actually are a form of nihilism.  The Atlantic


  • The Moon Is America’s New Space Priority:  Next stop, 1972. That’s the last time Americans stood on the moon, but Monday President Trump directed NASA to send new missions there to “not only plant our flag and leave our footprint” but lay the groundwork for an “eventual mission to Mars.” The directive lacks specifics — including where the money will come from — but it’s a shift from the Obama administration’s focus on reaching Mars first. Moon missions might create new opportunities for America’s private space industry, including Blue Origin, whose founder, Jeff Bezos, advocates establishing a lunar colony.  The Verge


  • The Great “Inauguration Trial” of 2017.   They protested the inauguration of Donald Trump in January and now, as the year ends, they find themselves on trial, facing felony charges. Prosecutors aren’t trying to convince jurors in this case that these defendants were violent. Instead, the government’s theory is a broad one; anyone protesting, even peaceably, is part of a violent conspiracy and thus criminally responsible for the acts of others.    The Huffington Post

West Virginia Adult Smoking Prevalence Significantly Declines from 2011 to 2016

The Free Press WV

According to data from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Public Health a significant decline has been achieved in the number of adults who smoke in West Virginia.  Evaluation of data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) by DHHR’s Health Statistics Center indicates a statistically significant decrease has occurred in the number of current adults who smoke from 28.6% in 2011 to 24.8% in 2016.

“This decline in the number of adults who smoke is the first evidence that never-smoking middle and high school students who are aging into the adult population are finally making an impact on the larger adult population,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.  “This is a significant milestone for West Virginia’s public health efforts and gives cause to acknowledge, although we still have a long way to go.”

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.   Smoking-related illness is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States accounting for more than 480,000 deaths nationally and nearly 4,300 deaths in West Virginia.    

“Comprehensive programs reduce long-term tobacco-related disease,” said Bruce Adkins, director of the DHHR’s Office of Community Health Systems and Health Promotion.  “Sustained best practices do have even greater healthy gains, and lead to compelling returns on investment.  There is a likely correlation of this decrease being the first evidence we have that lower smoking rates among youth due to programs such as Raze are making an impact.”

Other factors health officials credit to helping reduce the adult smoking rate are:

  • comprehensive clean indoor air regulations 
  • cigarette tax increases
  • readily available, no-cost tobacco cessation quitline services  

To learn more about smoking cessation efforts in West Virginia go to www.dhhr.wv.gov/wvdtp.  For information about how to stop smoking call the West Virginia Tobacco Quitline at 1.800.QuitNow.

Energy Efficiency Program Likely to Survive Regulatory Challenge

The Free Press WV

An important West Virginia energy efficiency program looks likely to survive a challenge at the Public Service Commission.

PSC staff had questioned the cost effectiveness of the program that American Electric Power runs for consumers of Allegheny Energy and Wheeling Power.

But Emmett Pepper, executive director of Energy Efficient West Virginia, says his group and the utility have told the PSC they want to keep the program and even expand it.

Pepper says when the utility helps people reduce their power bills through things such as better insulation and more efficient bulbs, it’s proving to be a good investment for everyone, including the company.

“This is a very cost effective way for them to meet the energy requirements, and it’s also a way to have a better, more robust electrical system,” he states. “And they’re looking to continue to expand those programs, because they’re finding that they’re working.“

West Virginia comes in near the bottom in most state energy efficiency rankings. Pepper says improving that could save consumers money while making them more comfortable.

He says the utilities are finding it cheaper to reduce demand than to build more generating capacity, which saves money, even for ratepayers who don’t participate in these programs.

Plus, he says it’s a good form of economic development.

“It will also help diversify our economy,” he points out. “Making energy efficiency upgrades are good construction jobs, that we need here in West Virginia – jobs that are literally created out of thin air.“

The issue is still before the PSC, but Pepper says the parties have asked for a delay to negotiate a compromise.

The program is largely the result of proposals made by Energy Efficient West Virginia during PSC consideration of a 2009 rate increase.

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Did You Know?

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PIPE BOMB EXPLODES IN NYC SUBWAY

The only serious wounds from the blast during the morning rush hour are to the suspected bomber himself, who authorities say was inspired by Islamic State extremists.


WHAT FINAL PITCH ROY MOORE IS MAKING TO VOTERS

On the eve of the Senate election, the Alabama Republican casts himself as the victim of a national barrage of unjust allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers.


#METOO SPOTLIGHT TURNS TO TRUMP

Several women urge Congress to investigate their claims of sexual misconduct against the president, and a number of Democratic lawmakers demand his resignation.


HOW PUTIN IS CELEBRATING MOSCOW’S DEEPENING MIDEAST TIES

The Russian president declares “victory” in Syria during a surprise visit to a military base there, then travels to Egypt and Turkey, highlighting his country’s expanded reach.


WIND-FANNED WILDFIRE FLARES ANEW

Ash falls like snow and heavy smoke forces residents to gasp for air as a Southern California wildfire spreads alarmingly, becoming the fifth largest in state history


WHICH RESEARCHERS HAVE HIT THE JACKPOT

Eighteen climate scientists from the U.S. and elsewhere are awarded millions of euros in grants to relocate to France for the rest of Trump’s presidential term.


PENTAGON OPENS DOOR TO TRANSGENDER RECRUITS

Transgender individuals will be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, after Trump’s ordered ban suffers another legal setback.


WORLDWIDE, AN ECONOMIC UPTURN

The U.N. says the global economy is growing by about 3 percent — its highest rate since 2011 — and a significant acceleration from last year.


CELEBRITY CHEF STEPS AWAY FROM RESTAURANT EMPIRE

The move comes after Mario Batali says that reports of sexual misconduct “match up” to his behavior.


STAR QB SUFFERS SEASON-ENDING INJURY

The Eagles’ Carson Wentz, a favorite in the NFL MVP race, has a torn left ACL and will miss the rest of the season and the playoffs.

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The Gilmer Free Press

The West Fork Conservation District Board of Supervisors monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at the USDA Service Center, Mount Clare, WV.

The meeting starts at 9:00 AM.

Please if you have questions contact Robin Ward, District Manager for the West Fork Conservation District at 304.627.2160 x 3730.

The West Fork Conservation District in West Virginia is comprised of the following four (4) counties located in the northern-central portion of the state:

•  Doddridge County
•  Gilmer County
•  Harrison County
•  Lewis County

The Free Press WV

 

The Gilmer Free Press

Gilmer County Economic Development Association

Annual Membership Meeting

Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.

Glenville Inn Board Room

Light Refreshments Available

Quarterly Board Meeting to follow Annual Membership Meeting

 

The Free Press WV

 

The Free Press WV

 

The Free Press WV


The launch of bitcoin futures, which allows traders to bet on the future price of the cryptocurrency, sent the price shooting up $1,000. Bitcoin futures went live on Chicago exchange group Cboe on Sunday night.


Apple has acquired Shazam from $400 million

Shazam is a British music recognition and advertising startup which was last valued at $1 billion (£745 million).


Android founder and Essential CEO Andy Rubin is back at his phone startup after reports emerged of an “inappropriate” relationship with a colleague while he had been at Google

Rubin said his leave of absence was unrelated to the reports, and that he had asked for time off in early November.


Apple’s design chief Jony Ive has taken control of the design team once again

Ive stepped back from his day-to-day administrative duties in 2015, but a wave of criticism about Apple’s products followed.


Germany’s intelligence services have found their Chinese counterparts used fake LinkedIn profiles to try and dig up personal information about German officials

Fake headhunters, consultants, and scholars contacted some 10,000 German citizens.


Uber has settled a lawsuit with a woman who accused the firm’s executives of obtaining her medical records after she was raped

The complainant had already successfully sued Uber for failing to do a thorough background check on the driver.


Microsoft has set up its own internal artificial intelligence university to try and fill the AI skills gap

The program trains computer scientists who already specialise in a different discipline the “practical sense” of machine learning.


A BBC investigation has found sexualized content on gaming streaming site Twitch

The “IRL” section features female gamers who wear revealing clothing while the game, and even sell explicit services through the site.


A Google security researcher sent the iOS jailbreak community into a frenzy with a cryptic tweet suggesting he’s about to drop an iPhone exploit

It’s possible the exploit will allow others to turn it into a full jailbreak.


HQ Trivia, the breakout iPhone quiz game, is coming to Android in time for Christmas

HQ Trivia is a live quiz game where winners can get real cash prizes, and games can garner a quarter of a million players.

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • House leaders say no funding for ObamaCare subsidies in spending bill:  “House leaders have promised conservatives that the next spending bill will not contain funding for ObamaCare cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said Thursday. ‘The three things that we’ve been told are not gonna happen as part of our agreement: no CSRs, no DACA, no debt limit,’ Walker said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program… The cost-sharing subsidies have been a flashpoint during negotiations over both the GOP tax bill and the bill to continue funding the government beyond December 22. In exchange for her vote on the tax bill, Senate GOP leaders promised Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) they would include bipartisan legislation to fund the cost-sharing reductions as part of the spending bill. The House and Senate are in the process of working out the differences between the tax bills passed by their respective chambers. A final version could pass as soon as next week.”  The Hill


  • Senate Republicans made a $300 billion mistake in their tax bill:  “The GOP had originally intended to abolish the corporate AMT (alternative minimum tax). But last Friday, McConnell made a series of expensive, last-minute changes the bill and found himself in desperate need of offsetting revenue. So, Senate Republicans decided to put the AMT back into the legislation – but forgot to lower the AMT after doing so. This was a big problem. The Senate bill brings the normal corporate rate down to 20 percent — while leaving the alternative minimum rate at … 20 percent. The legislation would still allow corporations to claim a wide variety of tax credits and deductions — it just renders them completely worthless.”  New York Magazine


  • The FBI is not (necessarily) your friend.  Let’s not idolize the same folks who have routinely undermined constitutional rights, and who may be doing so now in the investigation of the Trump team’s ties to Russia.    Reason


  • Celebs Support Boy in Viral Bullying Video:  He’s not alone. Keaton Jones’ mother shared a Facebook video detailing his lunchtime harassment, which included bullies pouring milk on him and mocking his surgery scars. Now the video’s racked up 22 million views as people are moved by Keaton’s tearful question, “Just out of curiosity, why do they bully?” He now counts heroes like the Hulk, Luke Skywalker and Captain America among his friends after an outpouring of support from celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Mark Hamill and Chris Evans, who invited Keaton to the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War.  Deadline


  • Nobel Winner: Nuclear War a ‘Tantrum Away’:  Will cooler heads prevail? Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, was in Oslo accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for the group that’s helped convince 122 nations to sign a U.N. treaty banning nuclear arms. She warned that “the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away” – apparently referring to mercurial North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump, who have traded increasingly bellicose threats. Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has said the chance of war is increasing daily.  BBC

ETC.

The Free Press WV

  • In One Decree, Trump Inflames Mideast:  “Cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished.” That’s how the Book of Isaiah tells the faithful to speak to Jerusalem. But President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there did something else. Opposed by nearly all U.S. allies — but perhaps emulated by a few — the Wednesday announcement quickly sparked clashes between infuriated Palestinians, who consider the city occupied, and Israeli security forces. Two Palestinian men were killed in a border clash in Gaza, where Hamas then fired rockets before Israeli jets retaliated Friday.  Sky News


  • Could Alabama Defy the U.S. Political Divide on Tuesday?  It’s a Republican firewall. But on Tuesday, amid growing concern about sexual misconduct in the halls of power, Alabama’s GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate has a statistical chance of losing. Twice-ousted judge Roy Moore — who’s received President Trump’s arm’s-length endorsement — has been accused of stalking, and in some cases assaulting, underage girls decades ago. That’s given his Democratic opponent, former prosecutor and civil rights champion Doug Jones, a fighting chance, but a recent revision of one accuser’s story may help clear potential Moore voters’ consciences.  FiveThirtyEight


  • How the War on Drugs Was Won:  It’s simple: They surrendered. In 2001, Portugal took the radical step of decriminalizing all drugs, instead focusing on voluntary treatment and harm reduction for users, including needle exchanges and even safe “consumption facilities.” Since then, HIV infections, overdose deaths and drug use have plummeted, thanks largely to a national attitude shift that’s survived conservative governments. Nevertheless, other countries persist with seemingly fruitless enforcement — and while marijuana legalization has seen a groundswell of support in many places, some Portuguese campaigners insist that treating all substances and their users equally is the path to victory.  The Guardian


  • Fake Debt Scammers Meet Their Worst Nightmare:  He had a particular set of skills. When a “debt collector” threatened to rape Andrew Therrien’s wife and harassed his grandparents, he snapped. Using his persuasive salesman techniques to cajole, sermonize and threaten various levels of fake loan scammers, he eventually cornered the payday-loan magnate who the feds believe created $7.7 million in falsified debt and sold it for $4.2 million for others to harvest from fearful victims. In September, a judge ordered the loan king to repay $34 million in illegal gains, but Therrien remains unfulfilled as the collectors keep calling.  Businessweek


  • Pariah Podcasts: A Passage From Ignominy:  Does their sound mean our fury signifies nothing? Even after the public turned against them, or they got fired or were charged with felonies, they still had podcasting. That’s what Bill O’Reilly did after a sexual misconduct scandal canceled his Fox News stardom. Doping disgrace also helped Lance Armstrong find his voice. Now radio sportscaster Craig Carton — facing trial in a federal wire and securities fraud case — is similarly doing digital rehab with no danger of firing. But are these podcasts any good — and is it OK to listen either way?  The Ringer


  • Russia’s Failed Attempt at Olympic Meddling:  They gave it their best shot. Following their country’s performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Kremlin officials swore they wouldn’t let that humiliation repeat itself. So they allegedly instituted a widespread doping program leading up to their home-based Winter Games in Sochi, but couldn’t cover their tracks. Thanks in part to testimony from Moscow’s top anti-doping official, who fled his homeland after colleagues’ untimely deaths, the operation that tallied an impressive medal count in 2014 has also won Team Russia a 2018 ban — along with a fresh national disgrace.  The Atlantic

WV Legislative Update

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The kid in me enjoyed seeing the light snow on the ground when I got up before daylight Sunday morning.  Soon afterwards, looking out the kitchen window the deer in the woods – nearly invisible the day before – now were clearly visible with the snowy background.  From now until spring, I’ll be on defense, guarding the shrubs and greenery around the house from their silent grazing.  Unfortunately, I can expect no help from our dog, Chuck.  The deer have apparently won him over to their side.

In addition to last week’s interim legislative meetings at the Capitol, the Governor called a brief special session while in town to address housekeeping issues surrounding the issuance of road bonds, consistent with the will of the voters in September.  To that end, the Senate and House passed SB 3001, authorizing sale of bonds pursuant to Roads to Prosperity Amendment of 2017.  The bill was signed by the Governor the same day and effective from passage on December 04, 2017. 

Also, the House and Senate passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 301, declaring that state road bonds in the principal amount not to exceed $800 million are authorized to be sold by the Governor during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.  In the following three years afterwards, bond issuances will be authorized in 2019 for $400 million; $200 million in 2020; and $200 million in 2021.


With the legislative session less than one month away, the legislative calendar for the upcoming session is as follows:

January 10 – First day of session begins at Noon;

      State of the State Address by Governor Justice at 7:00 pm.

January 29 – Legislative rules bills due out of committee (Day 20)

February 13 – Last day to introduce bills in the House of Delegates (Day 35)

February 19 – Last day to introduce bills in the Senate (Day 41)

February 25 – Bills due out of committee in house of origin (Day 47)

February 28 – Last day to consider bills on third reading in house of origin

March 10 – Last day of regular session (Day 60) ends at midnight.


Congratulations to Gilmer County High School’s Alexandra Garrett and Braxton County High School’s Tayton Stout for being selected by the EQT Foundation as Students of Excellence for 2017.  This is a well-deserved honor for these outstanding senior class members from their respective schools representing central West Virginia.  Again, congratulations on being selected for the prestigious award and accompanying scholarship.

Likewise, congratulations to members of the BCHS Eagle Football team and coaching staff and Gilmer County High School Football team for numerous post season honors.


Class AA LKC All-Conference honors:

Seth Arnold- Player of the Year

Bill Haddox-Coach of the Year

First Team-Tayton Stout, Dustin Barker, Hunter Drake, Heath Cottrill, Chris Truesdale, Brandon Gray

Honorable Mention - Aiden Watson, Kain Napier, Isiah Cumberledge.


Tayton Stout, Seth Arnold and Heath Cottrill were also selected for AA All-State honors.


Class A LKC All-Conference honors:

Gunnar Haley, Jordan Brown, Hunter Self

Honorable Mention – Joey Frame

Congratulations on a great seasons and the well-earned conference recognition.


Finally, I want to thank the Town of Burnsville for the honor of serving as grand marshal for the annual Christmas Parade last Saturday.  The chilly and sunny weather set the holiday tone with the American Legion Honor Guard leading the parade, along with the BCHS Marching Band, floats, groups, with Santa the highlight of the parade for all the kids along the route.  It’s a great annual event and Jean and I appreciate the invitation to attend and participate. 

Please send your inquiries to the Capitol office:  Building 1, Room 258-M, Charleston, WV 25305.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

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