Justice Signs Higher Education Reform Bill

HB 2815 gives more flexibility to schools under the HEPC

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice visited West Virginia University to sign House Bill 2815, legislation that will give greater freedom and flexibility to West Virginia University, including West Virginia University Potomac State College and West Virginia University Institute of Technology, Marshall University, and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
The reform legislation will give more autonomy to these institutions and realign the role of the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC). Justice was joined by WVU President Gordon Gee, Marshall University President Jerry Gilbert, and WVSOM President Dr. Michael Adelman for the bill signing. Gee, Gilbert, and Adelman voiced their strong support for the legislation. 

 “Our bigger schools need the freedom to continue to innovate and grow,” said Governor Jim Justice. “As the campuses evolve it’s clear that more decisions should be made by the boards of governors at WVU, Marshall, and the School of Osteopathic Medicine. This bill allows greater flexibility and allows HEPC to focus its efforts.”

The bill preserves the HEPC to serve its core function as a coordinating body and to oversee and undertake regional and statewide higher education policy initiatives for the public good. 

Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University:

“We are very appreciative to the governor and the legislators for their leadership on this issue. This new governance structure will help us be nimble and innovative enough to overcome our state’s challenges, and we look forward to working together as we continue to do great things.”

Jerome A. Gilbert, President of Marshall University:  

“I applaud the governor for signing this bill. This is good legislation that will give Marshall University more opportunities to reward exemplary employee performance and productivity. It also will allow us to do strategic financial planning, and will let us spend more time on programs and services for our students and less on bureaucratic reporting requirements.

“We appreciate the legislature and Governor Justice’s support of this bill to support excellence in higher education in West Virginia.”

Michael Adelman, D.O., D.P.M., J.D., President of
WV School of Osteopathic Medicine

“I truly appreciate the work of the Governor and the legislature during this past legislative session to provide the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, West Virginia University and Marshall University with more autonomy as state institutions during the state’s difficult budget times. We are grateful for the leadership Governor Justice has taken with House Bill 2815 and the efficiency and flexibility this legislation gives to WVSOM as we continue to fulfill our mission by training well-educated osteopathic physicians to meet the health care needs of West Virginia.”

Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

Chief Judge Richard Facemire presided over a lengthy motion day in Gilmer County on Monday, April 24, 2017 working through lunch and completing a 3 page docket.

•  Two names changes were granted.

•  One fugitive from justice, namely Antoine Calabrese, waived extradition to return to the state of Virginia.

He was represented by Clinton Bischoff and authorities from Virginia have until 4 PM May 02, 2017 to pick him up or Central Regional Jail will release him.

•  Seven pleas were taken as follows:

•  Charles Pritt

He who was represented by Clinton Bischoff, pled to 1 count of child neglect resulting in injury.

The remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed by the prosecutor.

After the probation officer completes his presentence he will be sentenced May 22, 2017 at 9:20 AM.

•  Matthew Sandy

Accompanied by his attorney, Teresa Monk, entered a plea to 1 count of escape and all other counts of the indictment were likewise dismissed by Gerald B. Hough, prosecuting attorney.

He will be sentenced July 06, 2017 at 9:00 AM.

•  Danny Minigh

Alone with his attorney Brian Bailey, entered a no contest Kennedy plea to 1 count of sexual abuse in the first degree.

The other count of his indictment was dismissed and he will be sentenced in BRAXTON COUNTY on July 05, 2017 at 1:30 PM.

•  Richard Williams Jr.

With his attorney, Kevin Hughart, entered a conditional plea to 1 count of brandishing and 1 count of possession with intent to deliver.

His bond was modified to $10,000.00 surety and home confinement with his mother in MD.

Sentencing was deferred for 1 year while he is on home confinement.

•  Patty Reynolds

She pled to 2 misdemeanor counts after an information was filed against her and the previous felony indictment was dismissed.

Her attorney was Clinton Bischoff.

Shannon Johnson was the special prosecutor that prosecuted her case.

She will be sentenced May 22, 2017 at 9:30 AM.

•  Charles Balliett III

He was before the Court with his attorney, Hughart, and pled to conspiracy with the other count of his indictment being dismissed.

He will be sentenced May 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM in BRAXTON COUNTY.

•  Timothy Maxwell-Lanham

He saw 21 counts of his indictment dismissed and was allowed to plead to 1 count of incest.

He will also be sentenced in BRAXTON COUNTY on July 05, 2017 at 2:00 PM.

His attorney is Bryan Hinkle.

•  Central Regional Jail failed to bring William Reynolds so his plea hearing was rescheduled for May 22, 2017 at 9:40 AM.

He is represented by Brian Bailey with special prosecutor Shannon Johnson representing the state of WV.

•  Three juvenile matters were also before the Court.

•  One magistrate appeal was sent to mediation and a bench trial was set before the Judge for June 22, 2017 at 9:00 AM.

•  There will be a pretrial on August 08, 2017 at 9:00 AM in BRAXTON COUNTY in the case of John Zsigray vs. Cindy Langman.

The trial is set for August 15, 2017 at 9:00 AM.

•  A suppression hearing will be heard May 02, 2017 at 9:00 AM with the trial remaining on the docket for May 16, 2017 in the case of State of West Virginia vs. Charles Collins.

Collin is represented by attorney Joseph Spano.

•  Two trials were continued to the July term:

•  State of West Virginia vs. Coy Pritt Jr.

He is represented by Teresa Monk.

•  Tiffany Parmer (Mayo)

She is represented by Timothy Gentilozzi also had her bond reduced to $10,000.00 without home confinement.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Geoffrey Shaffer

He was before the Court for pretrial represented by Jonathan Fittro.

He is scheduled to enter a plea May 03, 2017, but later failed a urine screen and an order was entered for him to be jailed.

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017 Chief Judge Richard A. Facemire held Court in Glenville.

•  One juvenile hearing was held.

Four criminal matters were heard as follows:

•  David Curry

He appeared for further arraignment and filled out a new financial affidavit requesting an appointed attorney and Judge Facemire appointed Kevin Hughart to represent him.

He entered a not guilty plea and was released back on $5000.00 surety bond.

He will not have a pretrial but his trial is set for May 16, 2017 at 9:00 AM.

•  Joshua Bohn

He was before the Court for a multi county plea and due to it involving charges in Braxton County it was reset for April 27, 2017 at 1:30 PM in Braxton County.

Jeff Davis represents him in Gilmer County with Andrew Chattin representing him on the Braxton County charges.

•  Richard Williams Jr.

He will enter a plea on April 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM.

He is represented by Kevin Hughart of Sissonville.

•  Steven Gibson

He was before the Court for revocation of probation and Judge Facemire denied the revocation and readmitted him to probation.

His attorney was Bryan Hinkle.

On Thursday, April 20, 2017 Judge Jack Alsop heard several matters in Gilmer County.

•  One guardian petition was granted.

•  Three juvenile matters were heard.

Gilmer County Family Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Family Court Judge Steve Jones:

•  Continued one divorce case.

•  Entered an order to pay publication costs in another divorce.

•  Granted a divorce wherein Michelle Goodrich (49) of Glenville, WV divorced Robert B. Goodrich (38) of Grafton, Ohio.

Give Local MOV Fast Approaching

The Free Press WV

With $150,000+ in matching funds and prizes available to distribute, the PACF’s Give Local MOV campaign aims to raise at least $300,000 for 42 local nonprofits!  On Tuesday, May 02nd from 12:00am - 11:59pm, you can multiply the impact of your gift to your favorite nonprofits working right here in in the Little Kanawha Area!   Your donations on May 2nd through enable your favorite nonprofits to earn significant matching funds and cash prizes. 

Give Local MOV is powered by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates (PACF) which provides the secure online giving platform, underwrites campaign costs, and provides education for its nonprofit partners.  Many generous community supporters are supplying the critical matching funds that encourage giving.  In addition to the matching funds, hourly cash prizes sponsored by various local businesses reward nonprofits whose supporters contribute throughout the day.  

Participating nonprofits are initially assigned a share of the matching funds, then, donors who contribute online will have their gifts matched 1:1 up to the allotted share.  Should any organizations not claim their full allocation of matching funds after the 24 hours, the PACF then proportionately allocates the remaining funds among nonprofits that exceeded their initial share.  Our region’s nonprofits address many important issues that affect our community; this is a once-a-year opportunity to help them in a big way!

Participating from Little Kanawha Area:

  • Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center, Inc.:  Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center, Inc. is dedicated to improving the health quality of life of all people in their service area through an innovative delivery system of services and education.
  • Gilmer County Community Grantmaking Fund:  The PACF’s The Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation affiliate created the Gilmer County Community Grantmaking Fund to support the charitable needs of Gilmer County.  Grants from the fund are awarded through the PACF’s Community Action Grants Program.
  • Little Kanawha Area Grantmaking Fund:  Formed by the Foundation’s Little Kanawha Area Community Foundation regional affiliate Advisory Board, this fund provides grant making resources to Calhoun and Wirt counties.  Grants from the fund are awarded through the PACF’s Community Action Grants Program.

Visit today to see the full list of sponsors and learn more about all the participating nonprofits.   Then, return to the website on Tuesday, May 02nd to make your online donation.  For more details, contact PACF’s Development and Communications Officer, Julie Boyce at 304.428.4438.

About Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates:

The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and Regional Affiliates (PACF) works with individuals, families, businesses, and civic or non-profit organizations to make a positive and permanent commitment for the future of our community.  PACF is a single 501(c)(3) public charity that manages more than 350 charitable funds with nearly $34 million in assets.  PACF works in partnership with its local affiliates to provide leadership and develop philanthropic resources to meet the needs of an 11-county service area.  Since 1963, PACF has helped local citizens support charitable needs and touch every aspect of life in the community in a variety of lasting ways.  For more information about PACF, visit or call 304.428.4438.

DeVos Undoes Obama Student Loan Protections

New actions withdraw protections due to “inconsistencies and shortcomings”

The Free Press WV

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has rolled back an Obama administration attempt to reform how student loan servicers collect debt.

President Barack Obama issued a pair of memorandums last year requiring that the government’s Federal Student Aid office, which services $1.1 trillion in government-owned student loans, do more to help borrowers manage, or even discharge, their debt. But in a memorandum to the department’s student aid office, DeVos formally withdrew the Obama memos.

The previous administration’s approach, DeVos said, was inconsistent and full of shortcomings. She didn’t detail how the moves fell short, and her spokesmen, Jim Bradshaw and Matthew Frendewey, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

DeVos’ move comes a week after one of the student loan industry’s main lobbies asked for Congress’ help in delaying or substantially changing the Education Department’s loan servicing plans. In a pair of April 4 letters to leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees, the National Council of Higher Education Resources said there were too many unanswered questions, including whether the Obama administration’s approach would be unnecessarily expensive.

A recent epidemic of student loan defaults and what authorities describe as systematic mistreatment of borrowers prompted the Obama administration, in its waning days, to force the FSA office to emphasize how debtors are treated, rather than maximize the amount of cash they can stump up to meet their obligations.

Obama’s team also sought to reduce the possibility that new contracts would be given to companies that mislead or otherwise harm debtors. The current round of contracts will terminate in 2019, and among three finalists for a new contract is Navient Corp. In January, state attorneys general in Illinois and Washington, along with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, sued Navient over allegations the company abused borrowers by taking shortcuts to boost its own bottom line. Navient has denied the allegations.

The withdrawal of the Obama administration guidelines could make Navient a more likely contender for that contract, government officials said. Navient shares moved higher after the government released DeVos’ decision around 11:30 a.m. New York time. Navient stock ended up almost 2 percent.

The Obama administration vision for how federal loans would be serviced almost certainly meant the feds would have to increase how much they pay loan contractors to collect monthly payments from borrowers and counsel them on repayment options. Already, the government annually spends around $800 million to collect on almost $1.1 trillion of debt. DeVos, however, made clear that her department would focus on curbing costs.

“We must create a student loan servicing environment that provides the highest quality customer service and increases accountability and transparency for all borrowers, while also limiting the cost to taxpayers,” DeVos said.

With her memo, DeVos has taken control of the complex and widely derided system in which the federal government collects monthly payments from tens of millions of Americans with government-owned student loans. The CFPB said in 2015 that the manner in which student loans are collected has been marred by “widespread failures.”

DeVos’ move “will certainly increase the likelihood of default,” said David Bergeron, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank with close ties to Democrats. Bergeron worked under Democratic and Republican administrations over more than 30 years at the Education Department. He retired as the head of postsecondary education.

During Obama’s eight years in office, some 8.7 million Americans defaulted on their student loans, for a rate of one default roughly every 29 seconds.

Former Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin worked on student loan policy during the latter years of the Obama administration, in part over concern that borrowers’ struggles were affecting the management of U.S. debt. DeVos’ decision to reverse some of her work “with no coherent explanation or substitute” effectively means that the Trump administration is placing the welfare of loan contractors above those of student debtors, she said.

In a statement, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is suing Navient, agreed: “The Department of Education has decided it does not need to protect student loan borrowers.”

~~  Shahien Nasiripour, Bloomberg News ~~

Social Worker, Katrina Survivor: “West Virginia Chose Me”

The Free Press WV

Social worker Jennifer Wells says West Virginia chose her after Hurricane Katrina drove her out of her old home. And now her profession inspires her to make her new home a better place.

Wells is one of four young women delivering the keynote at the National Association of Social Workers West Virginia spring conference this week in Charleston. The theme will be “West Virginia Chose Me.”

The Free Press WV
Social worker Jennifer Wells says West Virginia was a caring refuge, just when she needed one.

She said in her case, it happened when she was a refugee from Hurricane Katrina brought to the state with her family in 2005 by a National Guard plane.

“West Virginia was just a welcome arm that opened up for us,” Wells said. “And the decision after about four weeks became very easy that, in order to keep our sanity, staying here in West Virginia was the best choice.“

She said the first help they got was, “from the hand of a social worker” - folks who see something wrong and just naturally try to fix it. She said she hopes the keynote presentation will help others in the audience see the value of the help and community organization that social workers provide.

Wells said social work leads to activism, because they see problems firsthand as a web of interconnected issues that can only really be addressed by broad-based policies.

“Make it easier for somebody to find a home. Make it easier for somebody to find a treatment bed. Make it easier for a child to get into college and stay in college,” Wells said; “not doing the work for them, but helping them build themselves up so they can speak for exactly what they need.“

Wells is now working as a community organizer for the Our Children, Our Future Campaign - part of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. She said in many ways, that role is a natural outgrowth of the kindness she saw when she first arrived in Cabell County after leaving New Orleans.

Wells said social workers made it possible for her to be in college almost immediately.

“My brother and I entered Marshall a couple of weeks after we got here,” she said. “The Huntington community completely enveloped my family and I, and even offered help before we quite knew what we needed.“

The NASW West Virginia Spring Conference is the largest event of its kind in the country.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  DHHR Announces Closure of Emergency Energy Assistance Program for Low Income Residents

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today announced applications for the Emergency Low Income Emergency Assistance Program (LIEAP) will no longer be accepted after Friday, April 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Emergency LIEAP assists eligible state residents who have a termination notice in paying their home heating bills.  Eligibility is based on income, household size, whether or not the household is responsible for paying its home heating bill, and if a home heating emergency exists.  Income must be at, or below, 135 percent of the federal poverty guideline for the household size.  This program requires a face-to-face interview with a DHHR worker and clients must provide a copy of their termination notice with the application.

LIEAP clients may contact their local office with questions.  A list of local offices may be found HERE .

For more information on this program, visit HERE .

►  We Love West Virginia’s Volunteers!

National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate the impact of volunteer service on our communities. Share your passion this week by participating in the  #IVolunteer Campaign

During National Volunteer Week,  download and fill out the #ivolunteer signboard , take a photo holding the sign, and share on Facebook or Twitter using  #IVolunteer

Join in on the fun, Volunteer West Virginia will be sharing our favorite photos on our social media! 

For more information click the following link:  National Volunteer Week

Contact Information:  Phone: 304.558.0111 | Toll Free: 800.WVHELPS

►  Work to Start to Replace Flooded-Out Elkview Bridge

Construction is expected to start this week on a replacement for a flooded-out bridge leading to a mall in Elkview, West Virginia.

The Kanawha County Commission says in a news release Tuesday that construction on the culvert bridge at the Crossings Mall is expected to begin Thursday and should be completed in about two months.

Tara Retail Group owns the mall and is headed by developer Bill Abruzzino, who filed for bankruptcy in January. A federal bankruptcy judge this month approved a financing plan for the new bridge.

The mall has been closed since floodwaters knocked out the bridge last June. Dozens of businesses have closed and more than 500 people are out of work. The floods killed 23 people statewide.

►  WV eighth graders compete in History Bowl championship

Nearly 100 students from across West Virginia have studied for months in hopes of becoming the state’s grand prize winner of the 2017 History Bowl Championship.

The competition got underway Tuesday morning at the state Culture Center in Charleston.

Two dozen teams from 15 schools in 14 counties were in town to answer nearly 2,000 questions prepared by the state Division of Culture and History’s Archives staff.

“Culture, history, politics, current events, climate — it’s anything having to do with West Virginia,” said Matthew McGrew, coordinator of the History Bowl.

The tournament includes lightening rounds resulting in a double-elimination.

“We start out with eight rooms going simultaneously and we slower widdle it down until there’s just one left standing,” McGrew said.

Eighth grade students are required to take a West Virginia history course in school. McGrew said it’s important to learn about state history.

“You get to see how you fit into that larger, broader context of world and national history. You get to learn how Nitro was founded during World War I to support our troops there. You see how it all ties into the larger picture,” he said.

Eighth graders in public, private and home-school education programs were eligible to participate in the competition.

The winning team will be announced Tuesday afternoon.

Competitors include the following teams:

Cameron High School Team 1 (Cameron, Marshall County, Region 6)

Cameron High School Team 2 (Cameron, Marshall County, Region 6)

East Hardy Early/Middle School (Baker, Hardy County, Region 8)

Jackson Middle School Team 1 (Vienna, Wood County, Region 5)

Jackson Middle School Team 2 (Vienna, Wood County, Region 5)

Keyser Middle School (Keyser, Mineral County, Region 8)

Madison Middle School Team 1 (Madison, Boone County, Region 3)

Madison Middle School Team 2 (Madison, Boone County, Region 3)

Mountain View Elementary/ Middle School Team 1 (Union, Monroe County, Region 1)

Mountain View Elementary/Middle School Team 2 (Union, Monroe County, Region 1)

Pendleton County Middle/High School (Franklin, Pendleton County, Region 8)

Peterstown Middle School Team 1 (Peterstown, Monroe County, Region 1)

Peterstown Middle School Team 2 (Peterstown, Monroe County, Region 1)

Shady Spring Middle School Team 1 (Shady Spring, Raleigh County, Region 1)

Shady Spring Middle School Team 2 (Shady Spring, Raleigh County, Region 1)

Sissonville Middle School (Charleston, Kanawha County, Region 3)

South Middle School Team 1 (Morgantown, Monongalia County, Region 7)

South Middle School Team 2 (Morgantown, Monongalia County, Region 7)

Summers Middle School (Hinton, Summers County, Region 1)

Summersville Middle School Team 1 (Summersville, Nicholas County, Region 4)

Summersville Middle School Team 2 (Summersville, Nicholas County, Region 4)

St. Joseph Parish School (Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Region 8)

Wayne Middle School Team 1 (Wayne, Wayne County, Region 2)

Wayne Middle School Team 2 (Wayne, Wayne County, Region 2)

~~  Carrie Hodousek ~~

►  Justice, Legislative Leaders Still Divided on Budget

Nearly two weeks after West Virginia’s Democratic governor vetoed the state budget approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, negotiations have yet to resolve disagreements on tax changes and spending cuts.

However, Governor Jim Justice says he’ll call legislators back to a special budget session “soon.“

On Tuesday, he didn’t say exactly when that will be but said that he hopes the framework of a tentative agreement reached earlier with the Senate leadership will still hold.

That would limit funding cuts and lower the state income tax while raising the sales tax to close a projected deficit.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, in active talks this week with the governor, says that would be a tax cut for all working West Virginians.

House Speaker Tim Armstead says his Republican majority still strongly opposes the framework’s tax increases.

►  Jobless Rates Drop in 54 of 55 West Virginia Counties

Unemployment rates dropped in 54 of West Virginia’s 55 counties in March.

WorkForce West Virginia says the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose last month in Monroe County.

Jefferson County’s 3.1 percent unemployment rate was the lowest in the state, followed by Berkeley County at 3.7 percent and Monongalia County at 3.8 percent.

Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate at 12.7 percent.

Roane County was next at 10.1 percent and Clay County was at 9.8 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 4.9 percent in March.

That’s the lowest level since November 2008.

►  Mine Owned by Justice Cited for Safety Violations

Authorities have cited a West Virginia mining operation owned by Governor Jim Justice for six safety violations following a workers’ fatal fall in February.

The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training says 43-year-old Jason Kenneth Matthews of Bluefield, Virginia, fell from a ladder while attempting repairs inside the McDowell County coal preparation plant.

State inspectors issued notices citing failures to provide training records for Matthews and another miner and within 24 hours all accident details, plus failures to ensure employees wear safety harnesses, that all ladders are properly secured and that repairs aren’t performed with equipment running.

A company official says conveyor belts needed to be moving to do the repair and Matthews didn’t use a fall-protection harness as he was trained.

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV


House oversight committee leaders say President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, appeared to violate federal law over payments from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015.


There’s an unconventional new president in the White House, but Washington is still up to its old tricks, engaged in familiar brinkmanship just days from a potential government shutdown.


Ivanka Trump drew groans and hisses from an audience in Berlin while defending her father’s attitude toward women, but she brushed it aside as “politics” during her first overseas trip as a White House adviser.


A federal judge said President Trump has no authority to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration officials.


President Trump has long railed about unfair trade practices of China and Mexico. Now he’s drawn a new target - Canada - involving dairy and timber.


The nation’s first double execution in more than 16 years raised questions about whether witnesses should be allowed to hear what goes on in the death chamber.


In a turn from their fractious histories, extremist groups are joining together, with six Klan organizations from around the U.S. announcing a consolidation, The AP has learned.


The 15-year-old Tennessee girl who authorities say was kidnapped by her teacher had endured months of abuse at the hands of her mother, according to court documents, making her particularly vulnerable to an adult predator.


A strike threatened by Hollywood writers would have an immediate effect on late-night television, which could go dark.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. abruptly announces his retirement at the end of the season, a decision that will cost NASCAR its most popular driver as the series scrambles to rebuild its fan base.

Larry Page’s flying car will be available to buy before the end of the year

The car is made by a company called Kitty Hawk, which has received funding from Page.

Oracle is building a “transformational” startup inside the company

It is launching two new Solution Engineering Centers where it plans to build out all kinds of cutting new technology.

Snapchat maker Snap Inc. is saying “Hallo” to media outlets in Germany with the launch of its Discover section in the country

Bild, Spiegel Online, Sky Sport, and Vice will begin publishing content in German on Snapchat starting April 25, a Snap spokesperson told Business Insider.

Amazon has quietly formed a team to explore how it can best use driverless technology to deliver packages

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Investors backed an AI startup that puts a doctor on your smartphone with $60 million

The startup is called Babylon and it’s based out of London, England.

Photos of an iPhone 8 dummy model have been leaked that suggest a big update is on the way

The photos were initially published on Twitter.

Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales is launching a community-powered news site

The site, called Wikitribune, will aim to combat fake news and mistrust of the media.

Marissa Mayer will have $186 million in Yahoo stock when Verizon buys the company

The acquisition is valued at $4.48 billion.

Payments company Square has acquired the engineering team behind Yik Yak for less than $3 million

That’s according to a new report form Bloomberg, citing sources.

A bureaucratic mistake has revealed Apple’s secret team of self-driving car experts

An Apple filing obtained by Business Insider on Friday through a public records request contained the names of six individuals that Apple names as the official “driver/operators” of these driverless vehicles.


The Free Press WV

  • German crowd boos Ivanka Trump for calling her father a ‘champion’ for families:  “Women are at a particular disadvantage.“  THE WASHINGTON POST

  • How wealth is transferred from the poor to government.  Not by taxes. By fines and fees incurred in the criminal justice system.  USA Today

  • Trump Complicates Budget Talks With Border Wall Demands:  Mexico will “eventually” pay for it “in some form.“ That was Trump’s tweeted promise amid murmurs that a new budget wouldn’t include his flagship border wall project. His insistence is injecting extra volatility into an already tense week, with legislators just returning from recess facing delicate negotiations - and a government shutdown by Friday if there’s no deal. Congress may pass a one-week stopgap to gain extra negotiating time as they search for a compromise that pleases the White House and garners the necessary Democratic support.  Slate

  • Trump’s border wall faces another challenge with Indian reservation:   “The Tohono O’odham Nation is roughly the size of Connecticut. It straddles 62 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona. Tribal members live on both sides and are caught in the middle of the border debate. They allowed the federal government to build a vehicle barrier in 2006, but they strongly oppose a wall through their land. The current border fence cuts right through a ranch owned by a tribal family. Their well is now on the Mexican side and a wall would make it impossible to get to.”  CBS News

  • Mexico Worries That A New Border Wall Will Worsen Flooding:  “Mexican engineers believe construction of the border barrier may violate a 47-year-old treaty governing the shared waters of the Rio Grande. If Mexico protests, the fate of the wall could end up in an international court. Antonio Rascón, chief Mexican engineer on the International Boundary and Water Commission, said in an interview that some border wall proposals he’s seen would violate the treaty, and that Mexico would not stand for that.”  NPR

  • Texas border hurt by (EPA) cuts:    “Sewage gushing into the Rio Grande offers a pungent reminder of problems that could worsen under the Trump administration’s plan to reduce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency budget by nearly a third and eliminate dozens of anti-pollution programs. Joint U.S.-Mexico spending under the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement - including $650 million in EPA funding for water projects - has helped stop release of millions of gallons daily of Nuevo Laredo wastewater into the river. Despite those investments, an estimated 6 million gallons of untreated sewage flows daily into the river from Nuevo Laredo. … An EPA memo circulating among regional administrators and top staff asserts flatly that U.S.-Mexico border activities will be ‘eliminated’ starting next fall.”  San Antonio Express-News

  • Uber Tried to Hide Illicit Phone Tracking:  It’s not that easy to #DeleteUber. The ride-hailing app reportedly got in trouble with Apple after the tech company’s engineers discovered Uber was “fingerprinting” phones - continuing to identify users’ devices even after the app had been deleted - and had tried to hide that practice. Apple CEO Tim Cook allegedly threatened to remove Uber from the iPhone app store, which could have been a body blow to the embattled company. Uber, which apparently stopped the practice after Cook’s orders, denies it now tracks users who’ve deleted the app.    The Verge

  • Under Scrutiny, State Dept. Removes Mar-a-Lago Plug:  There is such thing as bad publicity. Watchdogs, lawmakers and former White House ethics officials were all part of the outcry over a blog post detailing the history of Trump’s for-profit, members-only Mar-a-Lago resort. The plug appeared on U.S. embassy websites and the State Department’s ShareAmerica site. Calling Mar-a-Lago “the winter White House,“ it amounted, critics say, to taxpayer-funded self-promotion prohibited by ethics rules. The State Department has since removed the post and apologized for “any misperception.“    Quartz

  • Wikipedia Founder Launches Online News Service:  Citations are desperately needed. In response to the fake news phenomenon, Jimmy Wales has announced the launch of an independent news service: Wikitribune. By using the “fact-based, fact-checking mentality that we know from Wikipedia,“ Wales says his volunteer contributors will support a team of 10 professional reporters, crowdfunded by monthly supporters. The venture aims for maximum transparency, which Wales calls “kryptonite to false information.“ Wikitribune, which will launch in English but plans to add other languages in the future, will be free to users and not ad-supported.    Nieman Lab

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►  Officer Allegedly Cut Inmate’s Water a Week Before His Death

As Terrill Thomas was placed in solitary confinement at Milwaukee County Jail on April 17, 2016, a corrections officer was seen on surveillance video turning off the water in his cell. It remained off for seven days before Thomas, 38, died of dehydration, a jury heard Monday. The six jurors will produce an advisory verdict on whether criminal charges should be filed in the case, involving one of four deaths at the jail in a six-month period. Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley says the decision to shut off Thomas’ water—without making note of the move in jail logs or on a whiteboard in the solitary confinement unit—“was highly irregular and contrary to standard operating procedure in the jail,“ reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thomas—who was moved to solitary confinement after flooding a section of the jail’s special needs unit—wasn’t taking his medication for bipolar disorder and “was unable to tell people about his basic needs,“ Benkley says. Inmates have said they asked corrections officers to intervene. However, one of at least 20 officers on duty in the solitary confinement unit during the week of Thomas’ death testified Monday that he was unaware Thomas’ water had been shut off. He added inmates in that unit only received a drink with their meals on Sundays, per Fox 6. Family members have filed a federal lawsuit alleging Thomas was “subjected to a form of torture” during his incarceration, which followed a shooting at a hotel and casino, per WISN.

►  Aviation Cop Gives His Version of United Incident

The physician who was dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago this month was verbally and physically abusive, and flailing his arms before he lost his balance and struck his mouth on an armrest, according to the aviation officer who pulled the man out of his seat. The Chicago Department of Aviation on Monday released the officer’s report in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the AP. In the report, officer James Long says he boarded the flight after being called in response to a disturbance involving a refusal to leave the aircraft. He says he approached Dr. David Dao to ask the 69-year-old physician to get off the plane. Long said Dao refused and “folded his arms tightly.“

Long says he reached out to “hold” Dao and was able to pull him away from his window seat toward the aisle. “But suddenly the subject started flailing and fighting,“ Long writes. Dao then knocked Long’s hand off his arm, causing the struggling Dao to fall and strike his mouth on an arm rest on the other side of the aisle, according to the report. Long says he then dragged Dao because Dao refused to stand up. Long says that once off the plane and in the walkway back to the gate, Dao got up off the floor and ran back onto the aircraft, saying they’d have to kill him. Dao’s attorney says the doctor suffered a broken nose and a concussion, and lost two front teeth. Long and two other officers have been suspended.

►  Government easing student loan process while IRS tool down

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is announcing ways to help students apply for federal student loans while the IRS data tool is not working.

The Data Retrieval Tool lets students import their tax data into their aid applications. But it was shut down last month over safety concerns. Students can still manually input their tax information.

In a statement DeVos outlined several ways to facilitate the process while the online system is not operational. She says institutions may accept a signed paper copy of a student’s 2015 IRS tax return as official documentation. Also, institutions won’t be required to collect proof that an applicant or their spouse or parents did not file a 2015 tax return.

The new rules take effect immediately and apply to the years 2016 and 2017.

►  Tennessee teacher planned to take 15-year-old girl to Mexico

A Tennessee teacher charged with kidnapping a 15-year-old student and driving her to California had planned to take the girl to Mexico and took a boat from San Diego on a test run, according to federal court documents filed Monday.

Authorities credit the caretaker of a remote northern California property for helping police find the girl Thursday and arrest her alleged abductor, fired teacher Tad Cummins. She has returned home and is being treated by a team of therapists.

Cummins is charged with taking a minor across states lines to have sex.

In carrying out his “audacious scheme,“ the 50-year-old Cummins switched vehicle license plates twice, disabled his vehicle’s GPS system, used aliases, altered his appearance, paid only in cash and used back roads during his nearly six weeks on the run, according to the documents.

Cummins acknowledged in federal court that he is the suspect in the case and agreed to return to Tennessee to face charges there.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall Newman ordered him held in the meantime as both a flight risk and a danger to the public.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hitt said Cummins is danger in part for “using his position of trust as a school teacher” and for having two guns in the vehicle when he and the missing girl were found Thursday at a remote cabin in far northwest California.

Assistant federal defender Ben Galloway argued the girl went willingly and Cummings had no criminal history.

“These allegations do not involve force, threats or cohesion” Galloway said.

Cummins still had the beard, mustache and dark-rimmed glasses he had when he was arrested and sat during the brief hearing clad in an orange jail uniform.

He offered minimal responses as he was advised of his rights and the charges that could send him to prison for 10 years to life.

The Associated Press is not naming the girl because she is an alleged victim of a sex crime.

Cummins left Tennessee because he was worried about an investigation into his relationship with the girl, the court documents said.

After taking out a loan for $4,500, court records said, the teacher took the money and two handguns and wrote a note to his wife saying he needed to go to Virginia Beach or the Washington, D.C., area to clear his head.

But instead of going to the beach, police said he picked up the student in Columbia, Tennessee, in his wife’s car on the morning of March 13 and headed west.

“From the moment the defendant was suspected of his improper relationship in early 2017, he began plotting his escape with the juvenile victim,“ the records said.

On Thursday, a northern California man became suspicious of the two people he initially thought were in distress and helped lead police to Cummins.

Griffin Barry said the pair told him their names were John and Joanna and they needed money for food, gas and a place to stay, ABC News Good Morning America reported. But Barry, 29, said he became suspicious when the older man tried to keep the teen away.

The girl’s father has told news media he believes his daughter was brainwashed.

Cummins also faces state charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor.

Before disappearing, Cummins was investigated by the school system when another student reported seeing the then-married teacher kiss the girl at the Culleoka Unit School. Culleoka is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Nashville near the Alabama state line.

►  Man’s ‘Poor Judgment’ Outside Fire Leads to Arrest

A South Dakota man was arrested outside a Sioux Falls house fire on Sunday, but the arrest had nothing to do with the blaze. Rather, police say the man tried to push past police and fire personnel in an attempt to reenter the home and “save” his beer. The Argus Leader quotes police as saying the man was told to stay outside but “persisted” in his attempts; no word on what kind of beer it was.

He was charged with interference with a fire or law enforcement official. The blaze, called in at 12:35pm, was extinguished in 10 minutes, but caused three people to receive medical treatment. The incident led to a SMH-type tweet from Sioux Falls Police featuring SpongeBob SquarePants that reads in part, “This incredibly poor judgement could have put many responders at risk #notworthyourlife.“

►  5-Year-Old Missing After Father Found Unconscious

A 5-year-old boy is missing in California, and police say his father, who was found passed out in a park when he was supposed to be in charge of the child, is unable or unwilling to give them helpful answers. Police in South Pasadena took Aramazd Andressian Sr. into custody and extensively searched Arroyo Park for the boy, Aramazd Andressian Jr., after the father was found unconscious near his vehicle early Saturday morning, the Los Angeles Times reports. The boy’s mother, who’s separated from Andressian Sr. and shares custody, called police the same morning after he never showed up to drop the boy off. She says she last saw the boy in a Skype conversation on Tuesday.

The little boy is 41 inches tall, weighs 55 pounds, and was last seen wearing a turquoise shirt and plaid shorts. He has a small mole on the bottom of his right shoulder, police said in a Facebook post. “When we found out the boy was missing, we don’t know if he crawled out of the car himself, if he walked away, if he was abducted—we have no idea,“ South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said Saturday, per ABC7. Andressian Sr. has been arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and child abduction. Police, who haven’t disclosed whether they think the father may have harmed the boy, says his story is “all over the place” and he seems to have a “very selective memory” about what happened to his son.

►  Ex-Treasure Hunter Again Told to Give Up Coins’ Location

A federal judge is warning an ex-treasure hunter that he could face another contempt-of-court charge if he doesn’t reveal the location of 500 missing gold coins. Ohio Judge Algenon Marbley on Friday ordered Tommy Thompson to cooperate by granting power of attorney to allow the government to figure out if a trust in Belize knows the coins’ whereabouts, reports the AP. Marbley refused Thompson’s request to appoint a civil attorney to help him review records in order to “jog his memory,“ about where the gold is, as the Columbus Dispatch puts it. “What stretches the court’s credulity is why do you need a civil attorney to explain your own documents,“ Marbley said. “The court is not going to be complicit in spurious machinations.“

Marbley has held the 64-year-old in contempt of court since December 2015—that’s 495 days as of this writing—for violating terms of a plea deal by refusing to respond to questions about the coins’ locations. The coins, valued up to $4 million, were minted from gold taken from the SS Central America, which sank in an 1857 hurricane. Thompson went on the run in 2012 after investors who funded his search for the wreck of the SS Central America accused him of selling $50 million in gold and keeping the profits for himself. He said the coins were in Belize and agreed to reveal their location in a plea deal months after he was recaptured in 2015, but he later said he’d forgotten whom he’d given them to.

►  Man Kills Woman Near Park Named for Her Murdered Sister

A woman in Kansas City, Kansas, will soon bury a second daughter. In 1999, Cherri West’s 10-year-old daughter Pamela Butler was kidnapped and killed, and last week West’s oldest daughter Casey Eaton was shot dead—less than a block from the park named in Butler’s memory. “You wonder what have you done in life for something like this to be done to you,“ West tells Fox4. Eaton, she says, was her “biggest helper,“ the one who ran after Keith Nelson, who is now on death row for Butler’s murder, as he drove away with her little sister. Police on Sunday arrested Emenencio Lansdown after an all-night standoff, charging him with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm in connection with Eaton’s April 19 death, reports the Kansas City Star.

Eaton, who was 34, is survived by four children and a 4-month-old grandson, reports the Kansas City Star. In 1999, a teenage Eaton ran after the stranger who grabbed her little sister “Pammy” as she was said to be rollerblading; Eaton’s screams caught the attention of a neighbor, who was able to note Nelson’s license plate number. (Her sister’s body was later found in woods adjacent to a church, per KCTV.) Eaton’s oldest daughter says it’s been “a shock to us,“ adding that her mother had struggled at times but was doing better and working with her at a nearby Subway store. Though Lansdown has been arrested and charged, Eaton’s murder is still under investigation and no motive has been given. A GoFundMe page is raising money for the funeral.

►  Back-to-Back Executions on Same Arkansas Gurney

Arkansas carried out the nation’s first double execution since 2000 Monday night, executing Marcel Williams on the same gurney Jack Jones died on hours earlier. Both men had called for the executions to be halted because of their poor health. The AP reports that Jones, 52, was executed on schedule around 7pm. Williams, 46, was already in the death chamber when a federal judge granted a temporary stay after lawyers said the execution of Jones had been “inhumane” and Williams’ execution could be “tortuous” because he weighs around 400 pounds, CNN reports. The stay was lifted after about an hour and Williams was pronounced dead at 10:33pm. Last week, Arkansas carried out its first execution since 2005.

THV11 reports that the inmates had similar final meals Monday afternoon, including fried chicken and potato logs. Jones, who raped and murdered 34-year-old Mary Phillips in 1995, delivered a two-minute final statement that included an apology to her daughter, Lacey, who was 11 when he beat her and left her for dead after killing her mother. Williams, who raped and murdered 22-year-old Stacy Errickson after kidnapping her from a gas station in 1994, declined to make a final statement. “I hope that tonight’s lawful execution brings much-needed peace to all of Stacy’s loved ones, particularly her now-adult children Brittany and Bryan,“ Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement released after the execution.

In The World….

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►  U.S. general in Afghanistan suggests Russia arming the Taliban

The United States must confront Russia for providing weapons to the Taliban for use against American-backed forces in Afghanistan, top U.S. military officials said Monday.

At a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at his side, Gen. John Nicholson, the American commander in Afghanistan, wouldn’t provide specifics about Russia’s role in Afghanistan. But said he would “not refute” that Moscow’s involvement includes giving weapons to the Taliban.

Earlier Monday, a senior U.S. military official told reporters in Kabul that Russia was giving machine guns and other medium-weight weapons. The Taliban are using the weapons in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan, according to the official, who briefed journalists on intelligence information on condition of anonymity.

Russia denies that it provides any such support to the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan until the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Russia says contacts are limited to safeguarding security and getting the hard-line religious fundamentalists to reconcile with the government — which Washington has failed for years to advance. Russia also has promoted easing global sanctions on Taliban leaders who prove cooperative.

Asked about Russia’s activity in Afghanistan, where it fought a bloody war in the 1980s and withdrew in defeat, Mattis alluded to the increasing U.S. concerns.

“We’ll engage with Russia diplomatically,“ Mattis said. “We’ll do so where we can, but we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries.“

“For example,“ Mattis told reporters in the Afghan capital, “any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law.“

Mattis met with President Ashraf Ghani and other senior government officials just hours after the nation’s defense minister and Army chief resigned over a massacre of more than 140 Afghan troops at a military base last Friday.

The insurgent assault was the biggest ever on a military base in Afghanistan, involving multiple gunmen and suicide bombers in army uniforms who penetrated the compound of the 209th Corps of the Afghan National Army in northern Balkh province on Friday, killing and wounding scores. The death toll was likely to rise further.

Referring to the Russians again, Nicholson said “anyone who arms belligerents who perpetuate attacks like the one we saw” isn’t focused on “the best way forward to a peaceful reconciliation.“

Given the sophisticated planning behind the attack, he also said “it’s quite possible” that the Pakistan-based Haqqani network was responsible. The Taliban claimed it carried out the attack.

Nicholson recently told Congress that he needs a few thousand more troops to keep Afghan security forces on track to eventually handling the Taliban insurgency on their own. The Trump administration is still reviewing possible troop decisions.

Mattis on Monday offered a grim assessment for Afghan forces fighting the Taliban.

“2017 is going to be another tough year,“ he said.

Kabul was the final stop on Mattis’ six-nation, weeklong tour. He is the first member of Donald Trump’s Cabinet to visit Afghanistan. As part of the administration’s review of Afghan policy, Trump’s national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, visited Kabul last week to consult with Nicholson and Afghan officials.

The war began in October 2001. The U.S. has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan. They ended their combat mission against the Taliban in 2014 but are increasingly involved in backing up Afghan forces on the battlefield.

►  Old-guard rallies around newcomer Macron for French runoff

France’s established parties are rallying around the man who helped shut them out of the presidential runoff, maverick centrist Emmanuel Macron — an alliance of convenience aimed at keeping far-right Marine Le Pen out of the Elysee Palace.

Support for Macron also poured in Monday from the seat of the European Union, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jewish and Muslim groups troubled by Le Pen’s nationalist vision.

European stock markets surged, and France’s main index hit its highest level since early 2008, as investors gambled that the rise of populism around the world — and its associated unpredictability in policymaking — may have peaked.

For all the paeans to Macron’s unifying vision in divided times, it is now up to French voters to decide whether to entrust him with this nuclear-armed nation in the May 7 presidential runoff. Polls consider him the front-runner but that’s no guarantee that the French will come together to stop Le Pen the way they stopped her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, from reaching the presidency in 2002.

France’s divided political mainstream, rejected by an angry electorate, united Monday to urge voters to back Macron and reject Le Pen’s far-right agenda.

Politicians on the moderate left and right, including French President Francois Hollande and the losing Socialist and Republican party candidates in Sunday’s first-round vote, maneuvered to block Le Pen’s path to power.

In a solemn address from the Elysee palace, Hollande said he would vote for Macron, his former economy minister, because Le Pen represents “both the danger of the isolation of France and of rupture with the European Union.“

Hollande said the far-right would “deeply divide France” at a time when the terror threat requires solidarity. “Faced with such a risk, it is not possible to remain silent or to take refuge in indifference,“ he said.

Voters narrowed the French presidential field from 11 to two in Sunday’s first-round vote, and losers from across the spectrum called on their supporters to choose Macron in round two. Only the defeated far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon, pointedly refused to back Macron.

The contest is widely seen as a litmus test for the populist wave that last year prompted Britain to vote to leave the European Union and U.S. voters to elect Donald Trump president.

Le Pen, meanwhile, is hoping to peel away voters historically opposed to her National Front Party, long tainted by racism and anti-Semitism

On Monday, she took a step in that direction, announcing she was temporarily stepping down as party leader, a move that appeared to be aimed at drawing a wider range of potential voters and was in keeping with her efforts in recent years to garner broader support from the left and right.

“Tonight, I am no longer the president of the National Front. I am the presidential candidate,“ she said on French public television news, adding that she wanted to be “above partisan considerations.“

National Front party officials also joined the chorus, noting that a vote for Le Pen would be a natural move for those fed up with the status quo.

“The voters who voted for Mr. Melenchon are angry voters. They can be in agreement with us,“ Steeve Brios, the mayor of Le Pen’s northern bastion of Henin-Beaumont, told The Associated Press, adding that those far-left voters sought choices “outside the system.“

Choosing from inside the system is no longer an option. Voters rejected the two mainstream parties that have alternated power for decades in favor of Le Pen and the untested Macron, who has never held elected office and who founded his own political movement just last year.

Macron’s optimistic vision of a tolerant France and a united Europe with open borders is a stark contrast with Le Pen’s darker, inward-looking “French-first” platform that calls for closed borders, tougher security, less immigration and dropping the shared euro currency to return to the French franc.

Le Pen went on the offensive against Macron in her first public comments Monday. “He is a hysterical, radical ‘Europeanist.‘ He is for total open borders. He says there is no such thing as French culture,“ she said.

Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, made it into a presidential runoff against Jacques Chirac in 2002 and was crushed. Many commentators expect the same fate for his daughter, but she has already drawn far more support than he ever did and she has transformed the party’s once-pariah image.

Louis Aliot, a National Front vice president and Le Pen’s companion, insisted that Le Pen offers an alternative for anyone skeptical of the EU and France’s role in it.

“I’m not convinced that the French are willing to sign a blank check to Mr. Macron,“ he said.

But Macron’s party spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, scoffed at the idea of Le Pen as an agent of change.

“She’s been in the political system for 30 years. She inherited her father’s party and we will undoubtedly have Le Pens running for the next 20 years, because after we had the father, we have the daughter and we will doubtless have the niece,“ he said, referring to Marion Marechal-Le Pen. “So she is in a truly bad position to be talking about the elites.“

Merkel wished Macron “all the best for the next two weeks.“ And the German chancellor’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, tweeted that “the result for Emmanuel Macron shows: France AND Europe can win together! The center is stronger than the populists think!“

Macron came in first in Sunday’s vote, with just over 24 percent while Le Pen had 21.3 percent. Francois Fillon, the scandal-plagued conservative Republican party candidate, came in third with just shy of 20 percent of the vote, just ahead of Melenchon. Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon, whose party holds a majority in the legislature, got just 6 percent of the vote. Turnout was 78 percent, down slightly from 79 percent in the first round of presidential voting in 2012.

Protesters angry over the results burned cars, danced around bonfires and dodged riot police overnight at the Place de la Bastille and Republique in Paris. Twenty-nine people were detained at the Bastille, where protesters waved red flags and sang “No Marine and No Macron!“

►  Japan’s North Korea Warning Would Be 10 Minutes, Max

If the Japanese ever receive word that North Korea has launched a missile toward them, they better find shelter quickly—because the government estimates any warning will be 10 minutes at most, the Japan Times reports. The Japanese seem to be on edge in the wake of chatter that Pyongyang may be prepping for another nuclear test, despite warnings from the US and other countries, Time notes. This nervousness has led to a drastic uptick in people checking Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site, which offers info on what to do in case an attack: While the site saw just 450,000 views in March, it has hit 2.6 million views this month.

Under the national warning system, news of an impending strike would first be spread to local officials via phone, satellite, and the internet, followed by public warnings issued via cellphone alerts, PA systems, and emergency radio and TV broadcasts. Osaka’s mayor notes that detection of a missile launch may be delayed, meaning residents may not have 10 minutes to find shelter, but more like four or five. North Korea, meanwhile, upped its saber rattling Tuesday with long-range artillery drills along its east coast, the New York Times reports. The event marked the founding of the nation’s military 85 years ago, with the US and South Korea also carrying out military maneuvers. A North Korean state paper says the entire Korean Peninsula is being brought to the “verge of explosion.“

►  Ivanka Greeted With Boos at Women’s Summit

Media access to the first family may be somewhat controlled in the US, but Ivanka Trump found such a buffer doesn’t exist in Germany. Trump took the stage in Berlin on Tuesday at the W20 summit on women’s entrepreneurship, at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s invite, and she was quickly met with a hard-hitting question from the editor of a German business magazine about her simultaneous role as first daughter and assistant to her dad, as well as where her true loyalties are, Politico reports. “Who are you representing, your father as president of the [US], the American people, or your business?“ Miriam Meckel asked, adding Germans aren’t in tune with what a “first daughter” does. “Certainly not the latter,“ Trump noted in reference to her business priorities, admitting she’s also “rather unfamiliar” with her new role and that she’s currently in “listening” and “learning” mode.

When she praised her father’s “advocacy” for women, however, specifically via paid-leave policies, the audience did more than raise a collective eyebrow: Some booed and hissed, and Meckel pushed Trump to address that reaction, considering “some attitudes” the president has exhibited. “I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media, that’s been perpetuated,“ Trump replied, adding that her father never held her back personally and hired plenty of women for important jobs in his own companies and administration. When asked after the panel about the heckling, Trump said “politics is politics” and she’s “used to it,“ per CNN. What’s more important, she noted, is that there’s continued dialogue and everyone can “feel comfortable candidly expressing ourselves without fear of being labeled and ostracized.“

►  In ‘Robbery of the Century,‘ 50 Men Allegedly Attack

It’s like a mix of The Italian Job and Ocean’s Eleven, just with an alleged cast of 50 criminals. Paraguayan officials are calling it the robbery of the century: the theft of millions from private security firm Prosegur in Ciudad del Este that is said to have involved explosives, fiery diversions, and getaway boats. The BBC reports the gang allegedly blew off the building’s facade early Monday while creating diversions. “The criminals used snipers to guarantee the escape and torched more than 10 vehicles to distract the police,“ an official tells the AP. While initial reports suggested they made off with $40 million, Fox News reports they got only one of three vaults open, leaving them with a much smaller haul.

After a multi-hour gun battle that killed a cop, they fled the scene, reportedly in the security company’s own armored trucks. They’re said to have then boarded boats at the Parana river and traveled 30 miles to Brazil. (CNN notes Ciudad del Este is the country’s second-biggest city and hugs the country’s border with Brazil and Argentina.) Brazilian media reports that federal police confronted a dozen men who managed to escape after another gun battle. Authorities believe the men may be part of Brazil’s criminal Primer Comando de la Capital, a conclusion that may be based on their alleged use of Portuguese. They were said to be incredibly well armed, with not just AK 47s and C4 explosives, but anti-aircraft guns and a helicopter. It’s unclear if any of them have been apprehended.

►  U.S. Nuclear Sub Arrives in South Korea

A US guided-missile submarine arrived in South Korea on Tuesday and envoys from the US, Japan, and South Korea met in Tokyo, as North Korea marked the anniversary of the founding of its military. Though experts thought a nuclear test or ballistic missile launch might happen, the morning came and went without either, the AP reports. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing a South Korean government source, reported that North Korea instead appeared to have held a major live-fire drill in the Wonsan city area. The USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine, arrived at the South Korean port of Busan in what was described as a routine visit to rest the crew and load supplies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday urged restraint in a call to Trump, as the Trump administration invited the entire 100-member Senate for a briefing Wednesday on the escalating crisis. Adding to the atmosphere of animosity, officials said North Korea has detained a third US citizen. Trump told ambassadors from UN Security Council members that the status quo in North Korea is “unacceptable” and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions. The US, Japan, and South Korea agreed Tuesday to put maximum pressure on North Korea, the South’s envoy for North Korea said after meeting his American and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo.

►  New Sanctions on Syria Among Biggest Ever by U.S.

The White House accuses Syrian leaders of gassing their own civilians, and it’s looking to punish anyone in the nation connected to the weapons. On Monday, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against 271 employees of a Syrian agency believed to have developed and produced chemical weapons, reports USA Today. The department characterized the move against chemists and researchers at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center as one of its largest sanctions actions ever. The penalties mean that those individuals can’t conduct any business with the US, and any assets they have in this country would be frozen, notes the Los Angeles Times.

“These sweeping sanctions target the scientific support center for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s horrific chemical weapons attack on innocent civilian men, women and children,“ said the department in a statement. Also Monday, Trump met with a group of UN ambassadors at the White House, and he criticized the Security Council for failing to impose new sanctions of its own on Assad. “The United Nations doesn’t like taking on certain problems,“ he said.


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The Free Press WV      My question is urgent and can’t wait. I don’t know what to do.

My best friend is suffering from a quick and aggressive form of ovarian cancer. We don’t know how much longer she has and suspect it won’t be long. For more than 25 years, I have talked to her at least four times a week and seen her at least once a week. She has been an active participant in my entire family life and is beloved by my spouse, children and extended family. We are all taking this news extremely hard. The hole in our lives is huge.

About 10 years ago, there was a rumor that she and my husband had a thing. It was small-town jealousy of the fact that the four of us had happy lives. If we had lived anywhere else, it would not have been an issue to have opposite-sex friendships. Small towns where people don’t move away focus on anything that seems interesting.

We thought it was all fine, but it now seems her husband never was OK with it. He quit coming around, and we never addressed it. We thought that the reason he declined our invitations was that he was busy working. Now we know he is still uncomfortable with us. She probably didn’t tell us because she was embarrassed.

If there were time to be mad, I would be so mad. We would have made it right if we had known he was harboring this type of resentment. We could have made sure everyone was OK. Now she is probably dying, and we aren’t there with her.

There was a time when we would have been the people he would have called for any kind of help. We moved the furniture, chopped the trees, patched the driveway, etc. We were the best friends when he needed us to be and out of sight and out of mind the rest of the time, I guess.

How do we fix this before it is too late? He is controlling of time and visitors and not receptive right now. We don’t want to go behind his back and want to make this right. This is so heartbreaking to all. The few family members who have been able to see her say she is depressed and so sad about the loss of control of her life and feels trapped and dependent.

I miss my best friend and don’t know how to make this better for everyone. What do you suggest to heal this rift I didn’t realize was this deep? Don’t want my heart to die, too. — Love My Friend

The Free Press WV    Dear Love: If ever there was a time to heal this rift, it’s now. Call her husband. Empathize with the complicated emotions he’s no doubt feeling. He may have seized onto this issue as something external on which he could project all his anger over his wife’s illness. Whatever his reasons, remind him that a grudge hurts the person holding it. And if he’s so attached to the pain that he doesn’t want to let go, that’s his own prerogative. He can stay angry. But he can’t force his wife to be part of that anger. Implore him, for her sake, to allow you to visit. If he feels uncomfortable, he can leave the house for a few hours while you’re there. Ultimately, if you want to see your best friend and she wants to see you, go see her – with or without his permission.

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The Free Press WV      Christmas has just passed, and once again, I find myself hurt and insulted by my best friend’s gift.

I always take such care and pride in choosing just the perfect gift for everyone on my list. I refuse to give a gift card or money, as I feel it’s like saying I didn’t feel like bothering to shop for that person or don’t know the person well enough to know what he or she would like. To me, gifting is a loving gesture, and even if someone chooses something for me that is not perfect, I get pleasure knowing that the person thought of me when choosing the item.

But every year, when I open my best friend’s gift, I am disappointed. We’ve been best friends for 30 years. This year was the worst. It was as if she went through her drawers and gave me everything she didn’t want. She gave me foot lotion, a DVD I will never watch, a shirt and a bottle of wine. The foot lotion was in a box that was all tattered and worn. The shirt was her size, not mine, and it smelled like old perfume. The wine was sweet red, and she knows I drink only dry. To top it all off, it was all thrown in a ragged gift bag that said “Happy Birthday’‘!

I was so hurt. I spent days looking for the perfect gift for her, and I spent a lot of money. I also gave her a huge container of homemade Christmas cookies and candy that she loves.

I have never been one who cares much about what I get; I get my pleasure from giving and knowing I made someone happy. But I just cannot help but be hurt. I haven’t spoken to her since Christmas, and she has been texting me, asking whether I liked the gifts. Am I being overly sensitive or selfish by feeling the way I do? Should I confront her about this? — Feeling Used

The Free Press WV    Dear Feeling: It sounds as if you’re gifted in the art of finding someone just the right present, and that’s great. But not everyone is the type. Presents may not be that big of a deal to your friend, or perhaps money’s too tight for her to go all out. She did at least try to put something together. If she’s a good friend in all other respects, be thankful for that. Keep staring the gift horse in the mouth and it’s liable to take a bite out of your friendship.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    My partner and I took in a young homeless man and have come to find out he has a mild mental illness. Our problem is figuring out how to include him in activities. We want him to feel that he is welcome and a part of the family. He does go to what he calls classes, but when he comes home, he goes back to his room. Any ideas on how to make him feel wanted and welcome? — Concerned

The Free Press WV    Dear Concerned: It will take time for him to adjust to his new life and be comfortable, so let him have the space he needs. He’s probably accustomed to keeping people at a distance. But a great and important place for familial bonding is the dinner table. Make a habit of cooking for him and eating together as a family every night.

Beyond that, seek help from a licensed counselor. Mental illness, like any illness, can become more serious and debilitating if left untreated. It was very kind of you and your partner to take this young man in, and now the kindest thing you can do is find him the help he needs.

Roush Selected as GSC Pioneer Mascot for a Second Time

Matthew Roush, a junior from Beverly, Ohio, has been named the Glenville State College Pioneer Mascot for the 2017-2018 school year. Roush also severed as the Pioneer Mascot for the 2015-2016 school year making him the only person in GSC history to have served two nonconsecutive terms as the Pioneer Mascot.

“What I’m looking forward to the most is helping lead the Pioneers to victory in all sports, and help with school spirit by energizing Pioneer Nation,” said Roush. “I was more nervous during the selection process this time because there was more competition. I made sure that I came in with high energy and the right attitude to embrace the school spirit,” he continued.

The Free Press WV
2017-18 GSC Pioneer Matt Roush

The land surveying major is a member of the Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams at GSC and a Hidden Promise Scholar Mentor. He says that he hopes to add more school spirit around campus and get students involved in events all around campus. He is the son of Robert and Carrie Roush.

“I’m very excited for Matt to represent Glenville State College as the Pioneer for the 2017-2018 year! His excitement and enthusiasm are overwhelming, and I believe he will bring an infectious Pioneer spirit to the campus,” said Director of Student Activities Jodi Walters.

As the GSC Pioneer, Roush will attend GSC football and basketball games, tournaments, and other school events. The Pioneer is charged with working with GSC students, faculty, and staff to positively promote and support the college. The official uniform of the GSC Pioneer mascot is a set of buckskins, a coonskin hat, and a musket. The Glenville State College Pioneer Mascot first began rousing the spirit of the student body during the 1933-34 school year. It has been an ongoing tradition for over 80 years.

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