Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Monday, May 22, 2017 Chief Judge Facemire held motion day in Gilmer County.

•  Seven juvenile cases were heard.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Robert Potter

He was before the Court and he was readmitted to probation and home confinement for a period of 5 years.

His attorney was Eric Wildman.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Charles Pritt

Upon his former plea was sent for 60 days diagnosis and classification at the penitentiary and his sentencing was deferred until August 28, 2017 at 9:30 AM.

His attorney was Clinton Bischoff.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Patty Reynolds

She was sentenced to 6 months in Central Regional Jail followed by 1 year in Central Regional Jail with sentence suspended and she was placed on 5 years probation with 150 hours per year of community service.

Her attorney was Clinton Bischoff and special prosecutor Shannon Jones worked out this plea deal and dismissed all felony charges against her.

•  The felony charges were also dismissed against William Reynolds who also pled to 2 misdemeanor counts in an information filed against him.

His sentencing is set for July 06, 2017 at 9:00 AM.

He has been in jail since August of last year and he made bond today and was released pending his sentencing.

His attorney was Brian Bailey and Shannon Jones was also the special prosecutor.

•  State of West Virginia vs. Margaret White

She was before the Court for reduction of bond, and it was reduced to $10,000.00 and home confinement.

Her attorney was Eric Hencil.

•  One guardian matter was reset for June 26, 2017 at 9:50 AM.

WV Attorney General , Broad Coalition Reach $18.5M Settlement in Target Data Breach

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced an $18.5 million settlement between national retailer Target, 47 states and the District of Columbia to resolve allegations stemming from a massive data breach in 2013.

West Virginia will receive $200,044 from the record-breaking agreement, which instantly ranks as the nation’s largest multistate data breach settlement to date.

“Our office works to protect and defend consumers,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This settlement is a victory for West Virginia consumers. It represents the diligent work of our office in holding corporations accountable for customers’ privacy.”

The Nov. 12, 2013, data breach affected more than 41 million customer payment card accounts and contact information for more than 60 million customers.

The states allege cyber attackers used stolen credentials to access Target’s server, which allowed the attackers to exploit weaknesses in the company’s system. The thieves installed malware and captured sensitive consumer data, including full names, telephone numbers, email and mailing addresses, payment card numbers, expiration dates, CVV1 codes and encrypted personal identification numbers.

The settlement additionally requires Target to develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive information security program. It mandates the hiring of an executive to implement the plan and an independent, qualified third-party to conduct a comprehensive security assessment.

The settlement further requires Target to maintain appropriate encryption of consumer data, segment its cardholder data environment from the rest of its network and undertake steps to control access to that network, including use of password rotation policies and two-factor authentication for certain accounts.

West Virginia participated in the Connecticut- and Illinois-led settlement with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

Kids Swim Camp to be held at GSC

The Free Press WV

Glenville State College will be the site of a Swim Camp being held this summer for local children in order to teach them about water safety and swimming techniques.

The day camp is scheduled to take place Tuesday, May 30 through Friday, June 16.

Each week the camp will run Tuesday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until noon.

The camp will take place in GSC’s Health and Physical Education Building.

Children ages 6 through 14 are invited to participate. Cost is $75 per week and $200 for all three weeks. The camp is limited to 20 children each week.

The daily camp itinerary includes approximately two (nonconsecutive) hours in the pool and two (nonconsecutive) hours in the classroom.

Swimming lessons and water safety instruction will be included in the camp.

The first and second weeks of the camp will center on swimming basics followed by advanced swimming and related topics during the third week.

Camp director Jennifer Wenner says, “Many kids will be around the water this summer and it’s important they know not only how to move through the water, but also how to be safe in and around it.”

For more information or to sign up, contact Jennifer Wenner via e-mail at or by calling 304.462.6436.

Governor Justice Amends Special Session Call to Include Budget and Additional Legislation

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice announced that he is adding the FY 2018 budget and six pieces of legislation to the special session proclamation.

As a result of meeting with lawmakers and stakeholders, Governor Justice amended the special session proclamation to include the following bills:

  1. A Bill relating to DHHR and the Health Care Authority
  2. A bill relating to the sale of DHHR operated hospitals
  3. A bill relating to physician assistants
  4. A bill relating generally to tax procedures
  5. A Bill relating to county levy rates and public school support
  6. A Bill relating to volunteer fire fighter workers compensation
  7. A bill enacting a state budget for FY 2018

All of the bills are drafted and have been submitted this morning.

“Now that we have action on the revenue legislation in motion I’ve sent up the budget plan,” said Governor Jim Justice. “There is still much work to be done. Once all of the bills are passed, most importantly the roads bills, then the budget is ready to be the last thing to be passed.”


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  • Trump’s budget would bolster the rich, remove benefits from the poor. Here’s the analysis of his plan:    With the release of his 2018 comprehensive federal budget, Trump decisively abandoned a central goal of his predecessor, Barack Obama: reducing income inequality. The $4.094 trillion budget would dramatically cut taxes for the wealthy while also deeply slashing safety-net programs, including Medicaid and food stamps, that provide benefits for up to a fifth of Americans.  Experts say the budget proposal, which Congress must approve, would likely further widen inequality in America as the wealthy pay less to the government in the form of taxes and lower and working class Americans receive less financial assistance from federal agencies.  THE WASHINGTON POST

  • The Trump administration argues the austere budget would reduce dependency. They also say it would spur benefits for all by generating economic growth — though independent economists cast significant doubt on whether the administration’s rosy forecasts will prove accurate.
  • How the electronics ban will affect U.S. travelers:    In March, U.S. Department of Homeland Security banned travelers from bringing devices larger than a smartphone on flights departing from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries. The U.S. was considering enforcing the same electronics ban on flights from Europe, but decided to hold off. However, this decision on whether laptops are allowed in cabins on transatlantic flights from Europe is not final. Here’s the complete list of banned electronics.  MIC

  • The spread of “involuntary commitment” laws.   Legislators in at least eight states are responding to the nation’s opioid epidemic by pitching measures that would imprison drug users who have not committed any crimes, in some cases for as much as 90 days. Patient advocates are outraged at what they consider cruel and unusual punishment of ill people. The private prison industry is delighted at the prospect of more inmates in more jails across the country.    The Daily Beast

  • Trump’s Planned Budget Includes Trillions in Cuts:  There’s normally more fanfare. But as his 2018 budget plan, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,“ is unveiled, Donald Trump is currently out of the country - which some see as a move to distance himself from its policies. The plan allocates $1.6 billion for Trump’s border wall and axes more than $800 billion from Medicaid. Overall, it would require $3.6 trillion in cuts to government spending over a decade, aiming to ultimately balance the budget. But that’s assuming 3 percent yearly growth, well over current CBO estimates, which critics say might not add up.    Vox

  • Iconic Everest Feature Confirmed Destroyed:  “The Hillary Step is no more.“ So wrote British mountaineer Tim Mosedale after summiting the world’s tallest peak, confirming the destruction of one of Everest’s most famous features. The Hillary Step, a 40-foot rocky outcrop near the 29,029-foot summit, was thought destroyed after Nepal’s 2015 earthquake, but heavy snow since had made confirmation impossible. According to Mosedale, the loss of the outcrop - named for Edmund Hillary, who with Tenzing Norgay was the first to reach Everest’s peak in 1953 - may have left unstable rubble, making the climb even trickier.  Quartz

  • While you weren’t looking, Trump basically killed Dodd-Frank:    “Last week, a council of top regulators quietly met to discuss the future of the Volcker Rule ― the most important structural change Obama established for the financial system. A few days later, a freshly installed Trump official went further, threatening to defang the rule “unilaterally” by “reinterpreting” its entire purpose. The Volcker Rule was conceived as an update to the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law, which banned traditional banks from engaging in risky, high-stakes securities ventures, which became the domain of investment banks, hedge funds and other firms that didn’t rely on federal support.”  HUFFINGTON POST

  • John Oliver Proves No One Can Keep Up with Trump’s Disastrous News Cycle:    Not even helpful Fox News pundits who minimize the problems.  ESQUIRE

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  Manchin Warns About Trump Administration Budget Cuts

West Virginia’s Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget would hurt poorer residents of his state with deep cuts in food stamps, Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid and children’s health insurance.

He says it also would effectively eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission, funded at $120 million in 2016, that provides development and planning grants for depressed counties.

According to Manchin’s office, about 25 percent of West Virginians get Social Security benefits. The Trump budget proposes cutting $72 billion for disability insurance.

He says the budget proposal from Republican Trump’s budget director shows a “lack of compassion” for the most vulnerable Americans in every state.

He says the Senate Appropriations Committee and its 12 subcommittees will work through the budget trying to find a balance.

►  West Virginia Suspends Ex-Education Secretary’s Law License

The law license of West Virginia’s former education secretary has been suspended by the state’s supreme court.

Clay County attorney Barbara Harmon-Schamberger’s license to practice law was suspended in a court order issued May 16. Her license will be automatically reinstated after the three-month suspension, but she’s required to obtain six additional credit hours of continuing legal education in the areas of ethics and law office management.

The justices’ order also says Harmon-Schamberger is to immediately refund a $1,000 retainer fee to Donnie Sears.

It was not clear what disciplinary rules Harmon-Schamberger violated or who Spears is. She could not be reached for comment Monday.

Harmon-Schamberger was appointed state secretary of education and the arts in 1992.

►  West Virginia Health Centers Get $8.5M in Federal Funding

West Virginia’s U.S. senators say federal authorities are awarding $8.5 million to health centers in Huntington and Baker to support medical, dental, mental health and drug services.

According to Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, the Department of Health and Human Services will provide almost $7.2 million to Valley Health Systems in Huntington and nearly $1.4 million to E.A. Hawse Health Center in Baker.

They say the funding will help enable the clinics to keep providing a broad range of care.

►  Waterfront Place gets new name

The Waterfront Place Hotel is now named Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place.

The hotel is newly upgraded and offers an airport shuttle, full-service spa, fitness center, pool and a full-service Starbucks. The hotel has 207 guest rooms both with river and city views.

All rooms are equipped with high-speed internet, a desk, mini refrigerator, a 55-inch television and coffee maker.

The hotel also is home to the Morgantown Event Center, which has 18 meeting rooms and more than 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Guests and local also can eat at Bourbon Prime, a new bourbon-inspired, full-service eatery in the hotel.

►  BENCHMARK in Weston

BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company which manages Stonewall Resort, has named Ed Riley general manager of the AAA-rated Four Diamond property.

Riley has extensive experience in the hotel industry. Most recently Riley was the general manager of Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa, the Gloria and Emilio Estefan-owned resort in Vero Beach, Florida, and a member of Benchmark’s Gemstone Collection.

Riley also served as general manager of the historic, 350-acre Cranwell Spa & Golf Club located in Lenox, Massachusetts, and of Equinox Golf Resort & Spa of Manchester Village, Vermont.

He is a graduate of Western New England College and earned his bachelor’s degree in business management.

►  History Alive! Finds Sacagawea at Cacapon Resort State Park May 26, 2017

Sacagawea, the young Native American woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their arduous journey west in 1805, has inspired countless enduring myths and legends and will be the subject of a historical program at Cacapon Resort State Park on Friday, May 26.
The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the park lodge, and include a first-person portrayal of Sacagawea performed by Mary Dailey of Ronceverte, West Virginia. Guests will be provided with Berkeley Springs water and cookies baked fresh at Cacapon Restaurant. The program is free and open to the public.

The Free Press WV

When Lewis and Clark hired Sacagawea’s French-Canadian husband as an interpreter for their expedition in 1804, she became the lone female member of the Corps of Discovery. Giving birth to a son in early 1805, she cared for her baby while on the grueling journey to the Pacific. Her ability to communicate with tribes they encountered and her knowledge of the landscape made her a valuable member of the expedition.
Dailey’s portrayal of this remarkable woman will include often-overshadowed details of Sacagawea’s journey. The program will be presented in costume and will include an opportunity for audience questions and comments. It is part of the History Alive! Program, which provides portrayals of historical figures by presenters who have conducted scholarly research on their characters. This History Alive! program is made possible by the West Virginia Humanities Council and West Virginia State Parks programming services.
Cacapon State Park, located near Berkeley Springs on Route 522, has a lodge, conference area, vacation cabins, golf course, swimming, fishing, hiking, stables, restaurant and a nature learning center. The park, which turns 80 years old in 2017, was one of the state’s first parks developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Learn more about the park at or by calling 304.258.1022.

►  West Virginia groups see disease threat from surface mines

West Virginia environmentalists are urging a National Academies of Sciences committee examining the health risks from surface mining to look at rates of cancer, asthma and birth defects among people living near large-scale coal mines.

Representatives of Coal River Mountain Watch, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition say there’s a connection and scientists should pay close attention to the silica and fine particulates produced by blasting and digging, as well as water pollution.

The committee plans to identify the geological and geochemical characteristics of mining operations, regulatory framework, relevant scientific literature and its sufficiency and potential short- and long-term human health effects.

Committee Chairman Paul Locke, a Johns Hopkins School of Public Health professor, says the study should take about 18 months.

►  12-year-old boy missing in Calhoun County

Emergency crews are searching for a missing 12-year-old boy in Calhoun County.

That’s according to the Calhoun County sheriff’s department and the 911 center.

The search began early Tuesday afternoon.

Neither the sheriff’s department or the 911 center was able to say specifically where crews are searching.

The sheriff’s department did indicate that it’s a rural area with little to no cellphone service.

Did You Know?

The Free Press WV


Gilmer County High School and Gilmer County Elementary School will have an early dismissal at 12:00 Noon on Thursday. Leading Creek Elementary School will also have early dismissal on Thursday.


Salman Abedi - who authorities say blew himself up in a packed concert hall, killing 22 - was reportedly a British citizen of Libyan descent who made little impression on neighbors in the suburb where he lived.


In the aftermath of the deadly bombing at Ariana Grande’s show, some parents are thinking carefully about their children’s summer plans to attend concerts.


The president and the pontiff share a trait that will add drama Wednesday to their first meeting: unpredictability.


John Brennan tells Congress he was so concerned about Russian contacts with people involved with the Trump campaign that he convened top counterintelligence officials to focus on it.


Compensation for CEOs at the biggest U.S. companies rose 8.5 percent in 2016, the fastest pace in three years, according to a study by executive compensation data firm Equilar for the AP.


In a scathing report, a federal prosecutor looking into last year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics says that many of the venues “are white elephants” that were built with “no planning.“


The company already monitors your online shopping. Now it’s also keeping an eye on what you’re buying in real-world stores.


He was the longest-serving movie star to play iconic British spy James Bond in the famed film series.


A new study posits that ice ages in the last 3 to 5 million years changed the oceans and food supply, propelling whales on a dramatic growth spurt “in the blink of an evolutionary eye.“


Cortez Kennedy, who spent his entire 11-year career with Seattle, was one of the best defensive linemen of his generation. The cause of death is still unknown.


The Free Press WV

The Glenville Lions Club will be hosting GAMBILL Amusement from Wednesday May 24, 2017 - Saturday May 27, 2017.

The Lions Club Hot Dog Stand will open on Monday May 22, 2017 at 11:00 a.m - around 6:00 p.m. to start selling concessions.

Wednesday & Thursday
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Friday & Saturday
6:00 p.m - 11:00 p.m.

Come out and join in the fun.


Estate Planning Expert to Provide Seminar

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

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

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

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

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

To register or learn more, contact the PACF at 304.428.4428 or or visit

Apple just launched a new attack on Android

The iPhone maker has launched a website aimed at persuading people who currently have an Android phone to buy an iPhone from Apple.

An internal Google email reveals more evidence of the company’s tip line for reporting whistle-blowers

The email comes from a lawsuit filed by an anonymous Google employee who claims the company runs a “spying program” that encourages employees to report each other for leaking information to the press or public.

Facebook activated its Safety Check feature in the UK after an explosion left over 20 people dead and more than 50 injured in Manchester

Safety Check asks people in the area of the incident if they are safe, and publicly marks them as such if they say they are.

A Wall Street analyst predicts the iPhone 8 will start at $870

However, it could cost as much as $1,070.

Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo AI beat the best Go player in the world in its opening match at the Future of Go Summit

The summit is being held in China this week.

The founder of LeEco, a Chinese Netflix-to-Tesla-like conglomerate, has stepped down as the CEO of the group’s main listed unit

The company is starting to streamline and cut debt after rapid expansion led to a cash crunch.

The next major game from the folks behind “Grand Theft Auto” just got delayed until 2018

“Red Dead Redemption 2” now has a launch window of “spring 2018.“

Someone in 2010 bought 2 pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins

Today, the same amount of bitcoins would be worth $20 million.

Mark Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook more like the Peace Corps and Alcoholics Anonymous

Zuckerberg touched on how he wants Facebook’s role in society to evolve in a lengthy post on Sunday summarizing some of his learnings from touring the US.

Cybersecurity firm Symantec believes it was “highly likely” that a hacking group affiliated with North Korea was responsible for the WannaCry cyber attack

The attack infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide and disrupted operations at hospitals, banks, and schools across the globe.

In USA….

The Free Press WV

►  Most Loved and Hated Telecom Companies in U.S.

Believe it or not, Comcast is not the most hated telecommunications company in the country. The American Customer Satisfaction Index, out Tuesday, ranks America’s most loved and hated companies offering pay-TV, phone, and internet service, and though Comcast finds itself among the least loved companies, it’s not the most despised out there. The five companies that top the list, as well as the five that bring up the rear, with a score out of 100, per 24/7 Wall St.:


  1. Apple (phone): 81
  2. Microsoft/Nokia (phone): 80
  3. Samsung (phone): 80
  4. Vonage (phone): 80
  5. TracFone Wireless (phone): 77
  1. Mediacom (TV): 56
  2. Frontier Communications (internet): 56
  3. Windstream (internet): 57
  4. Xfinity/Comcast (TV): 58
  5. Mediacom (internet): 58

Click for the FULL LIST

►  Metal Shards Found in Hot Dogs Spur Recall

Just as everyone’s starting to stock up on provisions for Memorial Day weekend barbecues, a disturbing announcement, per Fortune: More than 210,000 pounds of hot dogs are being recalled by the company that makes Nathan’s and Curtis franks, after three complaints that said small metal shards were found inside some of the dogs. The USDA notice says the John Morrell and Co. recall includes 14-ounce packages of Nathan’s Skinless 8 Beef Franks (with a “use by” date of August 19, 2017), as well as 16-ounce packs of Curtis Beef Master Franks (June 15, 2017).

Another clue: “EST. 296” will appear on the side of the affected packages. Consumers should trash the tainted dogs or bring them back to the store for a refund.

►  New Jersey police allege gun company sold defective guns

New Jersey claims in a lawsuit that gun manufacturer Sig Sauer for $2.5 million sold defective handguns to state police.

The state attorney general’s office claimed breach of contract among other charges in the lawsuit, filed in April.

Sig Sauer, based in Newington, New Hampshire, sold 3,000 P229 handguns and various holsters to the New Jersey State Police. The guns arrived in September 2014.

State troopers testing the weapons found the guns jammed after failing to eject used shell casings, according to the suit.

The guns were found “unfit for police use because a trooper may be unable to fire more than one round of ammunition in a life-threatening situation,“ the lawsuit says.

New Jersey State Police tried to work with Sig Sauer to repair and replace the guns, according to the suit. It switched to a different gun model after more than a year had passed, citing concerns for trooper safety.

The state originally paid Sig Sauer $1.8 million for the guns. The New Jersey attorney general is seeking a full refund, plus $900,000 to cover the cost of the holsters.

A spokesman for the attorney general declined to comment on the suit.

Sig Sauer did not respond to requests for comment.

►  Justices make it easier for companies to defend patent cases

The Supreme Court is making it easier for companies to defend themselves against patent infringement lawsuits.

The justices ruled unanimously that such lawsuits can be filed only in states where defendants are incorporated. The issue is important to many companies that complained about patent owners choosing more favorable courts in other parts of the country to file lawsuits.

The case involved an appeal from TC Heartland, an Indiana-based food sweetener company sued by Kraft Foods in Delaware. Lower courts refused to transfer the case to Indiana.

But the Supreme Court’s ruling will have the biggest impact on federal courts in eastern Texas, where more than 40 percent of patent lawsuits are now filed. Local rules there favor quick trials and juries tend to be more sympathetic to plaintiffs.

The ruling will have a major effect on lawsuits from so-called patent trolls — companies that buy up patents and force businesses to pay license fees or face expensive litigation. Many of those cases now may have a tougher time getting to trial or result in jury verdicts that are less generous.

Companies including eBay, Kickstarter and online crafts site Etsy had urged the high court to restrict where such cases can be filed, saying they have been sued repeatedly in courts hundreds or thousands of miles away from corporate headquarters. Even Texas Attorney General Scott Keller led a coalition of 17 states calling for an end to so-called “forum shopping” in patent cases.

Groups representing inventors and patent owners said new restrictions would place burdens on patent holders and encourage infringing behavior and piracy.

Writing for the court, Justice Clarence Thomas relied on a 1957 Supreme Court case that said patent cases can be brought only where the defendant company is incorporated. He said the federal appeals court in Washington that handles patent appeals was wrong to say that Congress had changed those rules.

The ruling is a “seismic decision” that will affect patent litigation around the country, said John O’Quinn, a Washington, D.C., lawyer specializing in patent law. He said it may lead to a surge in patent cases in Delaware, where many companies are incorporated due to favorable state law.

That shift will mean a dramatic decline in cases at the federal courthouse in Marshall, Texas, where hundreds of patent lawsuits are filed each year.

Justice Neil Gorsuch did not take part in the case, which was argued before his confirmation.

►  Plane Missing More Than a Month Found Buried in Snow

Authorities have discovered the wreckage of a small plane buried in snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California and the bodies of a couple missing for more than a month inside it. Sierra County sheriff’s officials say a snowmobiler found a piece of the plane’s tail near Yuba Pass, the AP reports. Searchers last Thursday located the separated cockpit buried in nearly 7 feet of snow, with Mark and Brenda Richard inside. The single-engine plane departed April 17 from the Truckee Tahoe Airport near the Nevada border. Relatives had reported the Santa Rosa couple missing after the plane didn’t land as planned at the Petaluma Municipal Airport north of San Francisco.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat says that at the time of the Richards’ late-afternoon takeoff on April 17, the mercury was hovering at around 40 degrees, with wind gusts measuring at more than 20mph. Sierra County Sheriff Tim Standley says it appears the plane hit a tree, then broke apart, and that centrifugal force hurled the cockpit and engine into powdery snow, which was then covered by harder, icier snow from subsequent storms. The search effort had been called off on April 23. “Our hearts go out” to the couple’s family and friends, Standley says, adding, “It’s a great tragedy.“ The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, and autopsies on the couple are being conducted.

►  Frat Members Blamed for Trees Felled in National Forest

Fraternity members from the California State University’s Chico campus are facing federal criminal charges after they allegedly cut down dozens of trees in Lassen National Forest during a camping trip as part of a pledge-initiation ritual, CBS San Francisco reports. Per the Los Angeles Times, at least 32 trees were cut down at the Deer Creek Trailhead campground in late April, and members of Chico State’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, including President Evan Jossey, now face counts of vandalism, possessing firearms, and degrading US territory. The US Forest Service tells CBS the fraternity left the campsite in disarray, and it has publicized surveillance pics showing college-age students buying tools that may have been used to cut the trees down. The trees that were felled included Douglas firs, white firs, and cedars, a Lassen rep tells the Sacramento Bee.

Per the Times, camper Jon Elam told federal authorities he ran into 80 or so of the frat’s members at the campground, including Jossey and three others who identified themselves as part of a Chico State fraternity that would be taking part in an initiation ceremony; Elam says he heard gunfire and trees being felled that night. He told the feds he saw the downed trees the next day and left, returning almost a week later to find a huge mess at the campsite. Elam filed a police report on April 28. In a Facebook post, the fraternity denies the charges and says it has filed its own police report, apparently against Elam. Pi Kappa Alpha’s national organization says the Chico chapter has been suspended until the probe is done; a university rep says the frat has been suspended from campus, the Times reports.

►  Stale Fries Incite Drive-Thru Mace Fight at Wendy’s

A dispute over the freshness of Wendy’s fries leaves a 25-year-old Minnesota woman facing criminal charges. According to CBS Minnesota, Wendy’s employees claim that Eiram Chanel Amir Dixson became argumentative during a drive-thru transaction just after noon Thursday after the woman asked specifically for fresh French fries. Reports don’t specify the condition of the fries, or whether she even received them, but do make clear that an argument followed. Employees allege Dixson reached through the drive-thru window and, after an employee threw a soft drink at her, proceeded to spray them with Mace.

The restaurant manager was hit directly in the face while two more employees were also in the line of the spray, per the police report. All three employees provided similar accounts of the incident, according to ABC News 5. Dixson is being charged with felony use of tear gas to immobilize. If found guilty, she’ll face a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a $3,000 to $10,000 fine. Wendy’s drive-thrus see their share of action: last year, a worker was allegedly bit over a wrong order in Virginia, while a Florida man reportedly threw an alligator through a drive-thru window as a prank.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►  After Manchester Attack, Bogus Stories Were Everywhere

Authorities have identified the suicide bomber at Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. The Telegraph reports that he is a Manchester native, though his parents are from Libya and are believed to have fled the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. UK intelligence officials are now trying to figure out the big question: Was he a lone wolf or did he get help? ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, and police have arrested another suspect in connection with it, though it could be awhile before it’s clear what, if any, connections Abedi had with them. Coverage:

  • 8 years old: The youngest victim among the 22 fatalities appears to have been Saffie Rose Roussos, who was just 8. She “was simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word,“ says the head teacher at her school, per NBC News. Another victim was a college student previously pictured with Ariana Grande.
  • Bogus reports: In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, a slew of false stories began circulating online. BuzzFeed debunks them, including one about a supposed gunman outside a hospital.
  • More kids: The BBC has a Q&A on what’s known about the attack so far. One detail: Of the 59 injured, 12 are under the age of 16.
  • Chosen target? This looks like “an attack on girls and women,“ declares the headline on a post by Christina Cauterucci at Slate. Grande’s “global brand is one of blissful, unsubdued feminine sexuality,“ and her audience reflects that, writes Cauterucci. The bombing is a “massive act of gender-based violence.“
  • What it was like: The New York Times has a detailed scene story based on the accounts of those who attended the concert, including at least one who thinks security checks were a little loose.
  • Still missing: Families were still trying to track down missing loved ones, and the Manchester Evening News has their pleas and photos.
  • One happy ending: Social media helped track down a 16-year-old girl missing after the show, and ABC News has the details. The girl’s distinctive yellow top helped strangers find her at a local hotel.
  • Hopeful thought: Stephen King, no stranger to horror, had this to say about the terror group on Twitter: “ISIS: A rogue cult that has substituted superstition and murder for spirituality. Every bombing hastens the day when they will be no more.“
  • Crowdfunding: The Manchester Evening News has set up a crowdfunding campaign for victims’ families. It had raised more than $620,000 by 1pm ET on Tuesday.

►  UK Believes Another Attack May Be Imminent

Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain’s threat level from terrorism has been raised to critical—meaning an attack may be imminent, the AP reports. It’s the first time the threat level has been at this level in more than 10 years, CNN reports. May says Salman Abadi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert in Manchester, may have been part of a bigger network. She says Abadi was born and raised in Britain. The level previously stood at the second-highest rung of “severe” for several years. May says critical status means armed soldiers may be deployed instead of police at public events such as concerts and sports matches.

May says raising the country’s terror threat level and deploying soldiers to patrol key sites is a “proportionate and sensible response” to the suicide bombing. May says Tuesday that the “callous and the cowardly” Monday attack justified rolling out the security measures included in a plan the government calls Operation Temperer. May says the measures include replacing police officers who now guard “key sites” with members of the military operating under police command. She says the move “will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.“

►  Puerto Rico seeks court’s help to save public pension system

Puerto Rico is seeking help from federal court to restructure the debt of the U.S. territory’s public pension system, which is projected to run out of money this year.

Governor Ricardo Rossello said late Sunday that the government has been unable to reach a deal with creditors to whom it owes some $3 billion.

“Given the system’s uncertain situation ... its eventual insolvency in upcoming months and the inability to reach a deal with creditors ... I have no other option to protect our retirees,“ he said.

The U.S. territory is increasingly turning to the courts to restructure portions of the $73 billion public debt it holds as it struggles to emerge from a decade-long recession.

Rossello said retired workers will still receive their pensions, and that the government will dip into its general fund once the pension system itself runs out of money.

Roberto Aquino Garcia, president of the Association of Retired Puerto Rico Government Workers, said he doubts a court-ordered restructuring will bring substantial relief to the more than 150,000 former government workers who depend on a system underfunded by some $50 billion.

“We hold very little hope, because unless the system receives a significant cash infusion to stay afloat, it will collapse,“ he said in a phone interview.

Aquino said many retirees worry the general fund will not be able to fund their pensions because it is already low on cash.

“We don’t know what the government’s priorities will be,“ he said. “Do we fall under essential services?“

The government is Puerto Rico’s largest employer, and the overall liability of its three main retirement systems grew by $10 billion from 2009 to 2013, prompting the previous administration to increase retirement ages, reduce benefits and increase employer and employee contributions.

Puerto Rico’s average public pension is roughly $1,100 a month, but more than 38,000 retired government employees get only $500 because of the type of job they had and the number of years worked.

A federal control board overseeing the island’s finances is now seeking more cuts. It has said the system will switch to pay-as-you-go funding, and that teachers and public safety workers will be enrolled in Social Security by 2020. Currently, teachers and police officers in Puerto Rico do not receive Social Security.

Aquino said a nonprofit group representing nearly 100,000 retired Puerto Rico government workers has hired the same attorney who represented retired workers in Detroit, which had less than $20 billion in debts when it filed for bankruptcy in 2013 in the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy ever.

“There’s going to be a humanitarian crisis,“ Aquino warned. “The government made a commitment to us since 1951 when it created the pension system. It’s a contract that all of us have held up on our end.“

Puerto Rico economist Vicente Feliciano said it’s unlikely the government will be able to fulfill that contract.

He noted that retirees in Detroit were hit with a 5 percent cut, and anticipated that those in Puerto Rico will face a similar or worse fate.

“The majority of retirees will get their pensions cut,“ he said. “Everybody must take a hit.“

►  China, Japan extract combustible ice from seafloor

Commercial development of the globe’s huge reserves of a frozen fossil fuel known as “combustible ice” has moved closer to reality after Japan and China successfully extracted the material from the seafloor off their coastlines.

But experts said Friday that large-scale production remains many years away — and if not done properly could flood the atmosphere with climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Combustible ice is a frozen mixture of water and concentrated natural gas. Technically known as methane hydrate, it can be lit on fire in its frozen state and is believed to comprise one of the world’s most abundant fossil fuels.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the fuel was successfully mined by a drilling rig operating in the South China Sea on Thursday. Chinese Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming declared the event a breakthrough moment heralding a potential “global energy revolution.“

A drilling crew in Japan reported a similar successful operation two weeks earlier, on May 4 offshore the Shima Peninsula.

For Japan, methane hydrate offers the chance to reduce its heavy reliance of imported fuels if it can tap into reserves off its coastline. In China, it could serve as a cleaner substitute for coal-burning power plants and steel factories that have polluted much of the country with lung-damaging smog.

The South China Sea has become a focal point of regional political tensions as China has claimed huge swaths of disputed territory as its own. Previous sea oil exploration efforts by China met resistance, especially from Vietnam, but its methane hydrate operation was described as being outside the most hotly contested areas.

Methane hydrate has been found beneath seafloors and buried inside Arctic permafrost and beneath Antarctic ice. The United States and India also have research programs pursuing technologies to capture the fuel.

Estimates of worldwide reserves range from 280 trillion cubic meters (10,000 trillion cubic feet) up to 2,800 trillion cubic meters (100,000 trillion cubic feet), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By comparison, total worldwide production of natural gas was 3.5 billion cubic meters (124 billion cubic feet) in 2015, the most recent year available.

That means methane hydrate reserves could meet global gas demands for 80 to 800 years at current consumption rates.

Yet efforts to successfully extract the fuel at a profit have eluded private and state-owned energy companies for decades. That’s in part because of the high cost of extraction techniques, which can use large amounts of water or carbon dioxide to flood methane hydrate reserves so the fuel can be released and brought to the surface.

Japan first extracted some of the material in 2013 but ended the effort due to sand from the seafloor clogging machinery, according to the country’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Tourism.

There are also environmental concerns.

If methane hydrate leaks during the extraction process, it can increase greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel also could displace renewables such as solar and wind power, said David Sandalow, a former senior official with the U.S. State Department now at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

However, if it can be used without leaking, it has the potential to replace dirtier coal in the power sector.

“The climate implications of producing natural gas hydrates are complicated. There are potential benefits, but substantial risks,“ Sandalow said.

Commercial-scale production could be “transformative for northeast Asia, particularly for Japan, which imports nearly all its hydrocarbon needs,“ said James Taverner, a senior energy industry researcher at IHS Market, a London-based consulting firm.

The consensus within the industry is that commercial development won’t happen until at least 2030. Smaller scale output could happen as early as 2020, said Tim Collett, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

“The path to understanding when or if gas hydrates will be commercially produced will need many similar and more extended testing efforts,“ Collett said.

►  Strapped UN health agency spends big on travel

The World Health Organization routinely spends about $200 million a year on travel — far more than what it doles out to fight some of the biggest problems in public health including AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

As the cash-strapped U.N. health agency pleads for more money to fund its responses to health crises worldwide, it has also been struggling to get its own travel costs under control. Despite introducing new rules to try to curb its expansive travel budget, senior officials have complained internally that U.N. staffers are breaking the rules by booking perks like business class airplane tickets and rooms in five-star hotels.

Last year, WHO spent about $71 million on AIDS and hepatitis. On malaria, it spent $61 million. And to slow tuberculosis, WHO invested $59 million. Still, some health programs do get exceptional funding — the agency spends about $450 million trying to wipe out polio every year.

On a recent trip to Guinea, where WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan praised health workers in West Africa for triumphing over Ebola, Chan stayed in the biggest presidential suite at the Palm Camayenne hotel in Conakry. The suite has an advertised price of 900 euros ($1,008) a night. The agency declined to say who picked up the tab, noting only that her hotels are sometimes paid for by the host country.

But some say that sends the wrong message to the rest of the agency’s 7,000 staffers.

“We don’t trust people to do the right thing when it comes to travel,“ said Nick Jeffreys, WHO’s director of finance, during an in-house seminar on accountability in September 2015 — a video of which was obtained by the AP.

Despite WHO’s numerous travel regulations, Jeffreys said staffers “can sometimes manipulate a little bit their travel.“ He said the agency couldn’t be sure they were always booking the cheapest ticket or that the travel was even warranted.

“People don’t always know what the right thing to do is,“ he said.

Ian Smith, executive director of Chan’s office, said the chair of WHO’s audit committee said the agency often did little to stop misbehavior.

“We, as an organization, sometimes function as if rules are there to be broken and that exceptions are the rule rather than the norm,“ Smith said.

Earlier that year, a memorandum was sent to Chan and other top leaders with the subject, “ACTIONS TO CONTAIN TRAVEL COSTS” in all-caps. The memo reported that compliance with rules that travel be booked in advance was “very low” and also pointed out that WHO was under pressure from its member countries to save money.

Travel would always be necessary, the memo said, but “as an organization we must demonstrate that we are serious about managing this appropriately.“

In a statement to the AP, the U.N. health agency said “the nature of WHO’s work often requires WHO staff to travel” and said costs had been reduced 14 percent last year compared to the previous year — although that year’s total was exceptionally high due to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

But staffers are still openly ignoring the rules.

An internal analysis in March, obtained by the AP, found that only two of seven departments at WHO’s Geneva headquarters met their targets, and concluded the compliance rate for booking travel in advance was between 28 and 59 percent.

Since 2013, WHO has paid out $803 million for travel. WHO’s approximately $2 billion annual budget is drawn from the taxpayer-funded contributions of its 194 member countries, with the United States the largest contributor.

After he was elected, U.S. Donald Trump tweeted : “The UN has such great potential,“ but had become “just a club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time. So sad!“

Some health experts said while WHO’s travel costs look out of place when compared to some of its disease budgets, that doesn’t necessarily mean that travel expenses are inflated.

Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, has frequently been flown to WHO meetings — in economy — on the agency’s dime.

“This may just speak to how misplaced international priorities are, that WHO is getting so little for these disease programs,“ he said.

During the Ebola disaster in West Africa, WHO’s travel costs spiked to $234 million. Although experts say on-the-ground help was critical, some question whether the agency couldn’t have shaved costs so that more funds went to West Africa , where the three stricken countries couldn’t even afford basics like protective boots, gloves and soap for endangered medical workers or body bags for the thousands who died.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, who directed WHO’s outbreak response, racked up nearly $400,000 in travel expenses during the Ebola crisis, sometimes flying by helicopter to visit clinics instead of traveling by jeep over muddy roads, according to internal trip reports he filed.

Chan spent more than $370,000 in travel that year, as documented in a confidential 25-page analysis of WHO expenses that identified the agency’s top 50 spenders. Aylward and Chan were first and second on that list. Three sources who asked not to be identified for fear of losing their jobs told the AP that Chan often flew first class.

WHO said the travel policy, until February, “included the possibility for the (director-general) to fly first class.“ It said Chan flew business class and requested the policy be changed to eliminate the first-class option.

“There’s a huge inequality between the people at the top who are getting helicopters and business class and everyone else who just has to make do,“ said Sophie Harman, an expert in global health politics at Queen Mary University in London.

Other international aid agencies, including Doctors Without Borders, explicitly forbid staff from traveling in business class. Even the charity’s president flies economy class, a spokeswoman said. With a staff of about 37,000 aid workers versus WHO’s 7,000 staffers, Doctors Without Borders spends about $43 million on travel a year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would not provide its travel costs but said staffers are not allowed to fly business class unless they have a medical condition that warrants it. The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF, which has about 13,000 staffers, said it spent $140 million on global travel in 2016.

“When you spend the kind of money WHO is spending on travel, you have to be able to justify it,“ said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Global Health Institute at Harvard University. “I can’t think of any justification for ever flying first class.“

Jha warned that WHO’s travel spending could have significant consequences for fundraising. Several weeks ago, WHO asked for about $100 million to save people in Somalia from an ongoing drought. In April, it requested $126 million to stop the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen .

“If WHO is not being as lean as possible, it’s going to be hard to remain credible when they make their next funding appeal,“ Jha said.

►  Saudi oil minister expects extension of production cut deal

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said Monday that he doesn’t expect any objections to a nine-month extension to the existing output cut deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members — an agreement that would extend the deal through March 2018.

Late last year, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members reached a deal to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day for six months, staring from January 2017. OPEC oil ministers will meet on Thursday in Vienna to discuss the extension.

“Everyone I talked to inside OPEC agrees with the nine-month (extension)“ Khalid al-Falih told a press conference in Baghdad after a meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his Iraqi counterpart, Jabar Ali al-Luaibi. “I do not expect any objection to that trend,“ al-Falih added.

He said the new deal would be similar to the current one “with some amendments” without elaborating. Al-Falih said al-Abadi gave the “green light” for Iraq to approve the nine-month extension proposal in Thursday’s meeting. Early this month, Iraq, which committed to reduce daily production by 210,000 barrels to 4.351 million barrels, said it supported a six-month extension, but didn’t comment on the nine-month proposal.

Iraq, where oil revenues make up nearly 95 percent of the budget, has been reeling under an economic crisis since 2014, when oil prices began plummeting from a high of over $100 a barrel. The Islamic State group’s onslaught, starting in 2014, has exacerbated the situation — forcing Baghdad to divert much of its resources to a long and costly war.

Since the start of the production cut, global oil prices have stabilized at around $50 per barrel. Al-Falih said the oil market has made a partial recovery, “but not a complete one.“

Iraq is also grappling with a major humanitarian crisis. The U.N. estimates that more than 3 million people have been forced from their homes since 2014. It also faces growing dissatisfaction among residents of areas recaptured from IS who have had their properties demolished and suffer from scarce public services.

Iraq holds the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves. This year, it added 10 billion barrels, bringing its total reserves up to 153.1 billion barrels.

►  North Korea says ready to deploy, mass-produce new missile

North Korea said Monday it is ready to start mass-producing a new medium-range missile after a weekend test-launch confirmed its combat readiness.

It called the missile, capable of reaching Japan and major U.S. military bases there, an “answer” to U.S. Donald Trump’s policies.

The solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) and reached a height of 560 kilometers (350 miles) on Sunday before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea’s media said more missiles will be launched in the future.

Trump, traveling in Saudi Arabia and Israel, had no immediate public comment.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the launch and watched from an observation post, state media reported Monday. The Korea Central News Agency said the test verified technical aspects of the weapon system and examined its “adaptability under various battle conditions” before it is deployed to military units.

Kim reportedly said the launch was a success, “approved the deployment of this weapon system for action” and said that it should “be rapidly mass-produced.“

North Korea has significantly speeded up its missile tests over the past year or so and appears to be making tangible progress toward developing an arsenal that poses a threat to South Korea and Japan — which together host about 80,000 U.S. troops — and developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.

It’s moving ahead with its nuclear weapons program as well.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year. It claims one was a hydrogen bomb and the other device created a more powerful explosion than any it has previously tested. Satellite imagery suggests it could be ready to conduct its next test — which would be its sixth — at virtually any time.

North Korea’s often-stated goal is to perfect a nuclear warhead that it can put on a missile capable of hitting Washington or other U.S. cities.

Its state media, meanwhile, have stepped up their calls for even more missile launches because of what the government says is an increasingly hostile policy from Trump.

“The Trump administration would be well advised to lend an ear to the voices of concern that are heard from the U.S. and the international community,“ North Korea’s Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary Sunday. “Many more ‘Juche weapons’ capable of striking the U.S. will be launched from this land. This is the DPRK’s answer to the Trump administration.‘“

“Juche,“ in this usage, refers to domestically produced and DPRK is short for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,“ U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the ongoing testing is “disappointing” and “disturbing.“

South Korea held a National Security Council meeting after the launch, which its Foreign Ministry said “throws cold water” on efforts to ease tensions on the peninsula.

At the request of diplomats from the U.S., Japan and South Korea, urgent United Nations’ Security Council consultations on the missile test are to take place Tuesday.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said he hopes the council will move ahead on a strong new resolution that imposes tougher new sanctions against North Korea and requires better implementation of existing sanctions.

He said a new resolution is being negotiated and council members are expected to discuss it during Tuesday’s closed consultations.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the United Kingdom supports a statement condemning “the latest outrageous provocation” and “urgent work to bring the council together to impose additional measures.“

North Korea a week earlier successfully tested a new midrange missile — the Hwasong 12 — that it said could carry a heavy nuclear warhead.

Experts said that rocket flew higher and for a longer time than any other missile previously tested by North Korea and represents another big advance toward a viable ICBM.

David Wright, an expert on North Korea’s missiles and nuclear program with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the latest missile could have flown farther but was fired on a “lofted” trajectory, which sends the missile high up so that it will land in the open seas rather than flying over or splashing down near neighboring countries.

He noted the Pukguksong-2’s solid fuel is of particular concern.

Solid-fuel missiles have their fuel loaded before being moved into place, allowing them to be launched faster and with more secrecy. Liquid-fuel missiles, on the other hand, are generally fueled at the launch site in a process that can last an hour and requires fueling and other vehicles. That makes them easier to spot and easier to destroy.

►  Why Trump Won’t Refer to Concert Attacker as ‘Monster’

Trump visited the West Bank city of Bethlehem Tuesday, where he condemned the “losers” behind Monday night’s horrific terrorist attack in Manchester. “So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term,“ Trump said, per CNN. “They’re losers, and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers, just remember that.“ Trump, standing alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for terrorists to be “driven out from our society forever,“ the AP reports. “This wicked ideology must be obliterated,“ he said.

“We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom,“ said Trump. Abbas also sent his “warmest condolences” to the British people. Trump, who’s on the final day of his visit to the Middle East, also spoke of his hopes for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that he said could “begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East,“ the BBC reports. “I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the lsraelis and the Palestinians,“ he said. “And I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal.“ Trump was scheduled to speak at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial later Tuesday before flying to Rome for the next leg of his foreign trip, reports Reuters.

►  North Korea Says Missiles Are ‘Answer to Trump’

North Korea says it’s ready to deploy and start mass-producing a new medium-range missile capable of reaching Japan and major US military bases there following a test launch it claims confirmed the missile’s combat readiness and is an “answer” to Trump’s policies. The solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile flew about 310 miles and reached a height of 350 miles Sunday before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea’s media said more missiles will be launched in the future, the AP reports. Trump, traveling in Saudi Arabia, had no immediate public comment. Kim Jong Un ordered the launch and watched from an observation post, state media reported Monday.

The Korea Central News Agency said the test verified technical aspects of the weapon system and examined its “adaptability under various battle conditions” before it’s deployed to military units. Kim reportedly said the launch was a success, “approved the deployment of this weapon system for action,“ and said that it should “be rapidly mass-produced.“ Viewing images sent from the rocket, Kim noted, “It feels grand to look at the Earth from the rocket we launched,“ KCNA said, via Reuters. The North’s Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary Sunday that in Pyongyang’s “answer to the Trump administration,“ many more missiles “capable of striking the US will be launched from this land.“


The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    I have been living with my partner for 36 years. By all outside appearances, he is a very good man. And in many ways, he is. But in the important ways, he is not. Birthdays and special holidays are never acknowledged; he makes snide comments about my weight; he’s never been there when I’ve really needed him; he drinks until he is drunk every night, an average of 10 drinks; he smokes weed every night; and he watches porn at least three times a week. He is never mean when he is drinking; he just forgets things he says and stumbles around and makes stupid comments.

He is not only destroying his life and his brain but also making my life intolerable. I do everything for him. Many of my friends have told me I do too much and need to stop.

I don’t want to leave, but I feel I am at the point that I may need to. He will probably find another relationship, but I sense he has no idea of the kind of woman he will draw into his life – most likely a weed user, a drinker and one who finds regular use of porn acceptable. I am none of those things. I never have been and never will be.

My soul is so fractured by trying to figure this out. I am extremely depressed. I would not know where to go. I have no family nearby, and starting all over on my own seems physically impossible because of my broken spirit. Infringing on friends is not something I want to do. — Veronica

The Free Press WV    Dear Veronica: There is so much to address here, but I’ll start with the biggest red flag. This man is an alcoholic. He needs to seek treatment. And you should attend an Al-Anon meeting on your own, as it would help give you some perspective, especially if you were to stay with him. But I really hope you don’t stay, because even if this relationship was healthy at some point, it isn’t now. And having a history with someone is not reason enough to have a future. Close your eyes and picture yourself still with this man in 10 years. Do you look happy?

I’m guessing your friends would be overjoyed to help you get out of this relationship and would get right to making up a bed for you. Reach out to them. (You can alternate friends every week or two, if you’re worried about overstaying your welcome.) Also, consider seeing a therapist. It can make a world of difference just knowing you have a place to pour your heart out every week.

Leaving him won’t be easy. In fact, it will be excruciating – for a little while. But if you push through the pain and heartache, you will find bliss on the other side.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    I recently read a letter from “Not Good Enough.‘’ I am very concerned by the parents’ response to struggling grades. This is never a small thing to a child, especially a teen, who is not only beginning to develop a sense of identity but also dealing with a changing body. Parents who have this attitude need to refocus their priorities. Parents, please, instead of whining about not being able to brag about your kid’s grades, offer to help. Encourage your kid after a job well-done. A small compliment can go a long way. As this young man stated, he just wants to know he’s valued and appreciated. Isn’t that what we all want – and need – in this life? — Bewildered

The Free Press WV    Dear Bewildered: Amen to that.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    I am writing to you with a problem that probably seems pretty petty compared with some of the more life-or-death questions you get, but I am too embarrassed to bring it up with anyone else, so here goes.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. Weeks in advance, my husband promised me a great day. For weeks, I looked forward to it and imagined what he might have planned. We’d talked about hot air balloon rides not too long before that, so I was thinking that might be the secret plan.

The day arrived, and I woke up wondering what the plan was. Then I kept wondering. We watched TV and bummed around more than we usually would on a Saturday – which was a treat, in a way, but nothing special. Finally, around 6 p.m., he told me to get ready to go out; he had a surprise.

Well, he ended up taking me to a concert of one of his favorite bands. I like them, too, but he’s definitely the bigger fan. I tried to conceal my disappointment. It’s been a few weeks now, and I still find it nagging at the back of my mind. I don’t want to seem ungrateful. Is there any way to address this with him without hurting his feelings? — Blah Birthday

The Free Press WV    Dear Blah: Expectation is the root of all disappointment. Though it’s perfectly healthy to have standards for how you’d like to be treated in your relationship, it’s important to learn how to manage expectations – and to take the initiative when it’s really important to you that something go a certain way. I’ve known many people who love celebrating their birthdays in a big way, so they take the planning upon themselves. There’s no shame in that.

Finally, I would just give your husband the benefit of the doubt on this one and communicate more clearly about your wishes next time.

The Free Press WV

The Free Press WV    I just read the letter from “Crybaby,‘’ the woman who is embarrassed by excessive crying. Whenever she feels an extreme emotion – positive or negative – she cries.

I can empathize. I have the same problem, although for me it is almost always only for extremely positive emotions. The thing is that I am a man. Forgive the gender stereotype, but it is really inappropriate for a male to cry a lot, especially when it’s not even over anything bad.

Anyway, I once happened to sit next to a psychologist on a long train ride, and I confided my problem to him. He basically said, “Look, this is just the way your body is wired. Your emotions come out through your tear ducts. Some people react in other ‘inappropriate’ ways. In your case, it is through tears. Accept that this is the way you are, and don’t make a big deal of it, because chances are that this is not something you can change. It’s not harmful, and if you don’t make a big deal out of it, others will probably not, either. If they do, you can explain it any way you wish.‘’

When people do comment, which is really rare, I simply say something to the effect of, “When I get emotional in certain ways, the tears flow. I’m not really crying; I’m just shedding tears. Please just ignore it.‘’

If “Crybaby’s’‘ husband cannot understand this about her, then they have a very serious problem of communication, and your advice to seek counseling over that was spot on. — Another Crier

The Free Press WV    Dear Another: I’m sure your empathetic words will make “Crybaby’‘ feel less ashamed of her active tear ducts.

GSC Athletics Partners With BSN SPORTS and Nike

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

WV Lawmakers Make Progress on Needed Revenue

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

Lawmakers are due back in Charleston on Tuesday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~  Dan Heyman ~~

Announcing the 2017 National Service and Civic Engagement Research Grant Competition

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

Please use this link below to access the full Notice of Funding Availability and Application Instructions:


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

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

Eligible Applicants

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

Funding Categories

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

Activities to be Funded

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

Funding Priorities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Application Deadline

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

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

Notice of Funding Availability (PDF)

Application Instructions (PDF)

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

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

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

Spring Oil, Gas Meeting

The Free Press WV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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