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Robinson of Dunbar Named Ninth West Virginia Scholar

West Virginia MetroNews and West Virginia Wesleyan College has named Madison Robinson of Dunbar, WV and South Charleston High School as the winner of the ninth annual West Virginia Scholar competition during a luncheon held on Wesleyan’s campus today.  A rising senior, Robinson plans to study biology and was awarded a full, four-year scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College to include tuition and fees, along with room and board, beginning in the fall 2017.

Gavin Surbaugh of Webster Springs, WV and Webster County High School was named first runner-up and will receive a $5,000 four-year renewable scholarship to Wesleyan.  Second runner-up was Taylor Walroth of Hurricane, WV and Hurricane High School.  Walroth won a $2,500 four-year renewable scholarship to Wesleyan.  Surbaugh plans to focus on international studies while Walroth will enter into the nursing program.

The Free Press WV
Robinson, Walroth, and Surbaugh


During her acceptance speech, Robinson thanked God, her church family, the sponsors, and scholarship benefactors for this opportunity.  She also offered congratulations to all finalists for their achievements to date.

Scholarship funds for the West Virginia Scholar Award are provided by the Culpepper Wesleyan Scholars Award and by West Virginia Wesleyan College.  The Culpepper Wesleyan Scholars Award was established in 1991 as an endowed scholarship fund by Olive O’Dell Culpepper ’33 and C. Ross Culpepper ’30, and is continued today by Marvin ’51, Hon. ’06 and Elaine Karnes Culpepper ’54, Hon. ’06.

The West Virginia Scholar Program is also sponsored by West Virginia MetroNews, Home Builders Association of West Virginia, West Virginia Forestry Association, the West Virginia Hospital Association, Friends of Coal, ZMM architects and Engineers, and the High Technology Foundation.

Founded in 1890, West Virginia Wesleyan is a private residential college located in Buckhannon. The college offers 49 majors and graduate programs in athletic training, business, education, English creative writing and nursing. Thirteen Wesleyan students have been selected as U.S. Department of State Fulbright Scholars.

Organizations, Businesses Collect Donations for Flooding Victims

The Free Press WV

A variety of locations across the area are accepting donations to help aid West Virginia residents affected by flooding.

The locations are listed by county. The following places will take donations at the following times:


Barbour County

- Ryan’s Auto Repair and Ryan’s Recker Service in Belington, the Belington Volunteer Fire Department and members of the Barbour County Commission are taking donations of nonperishable food items, bottled water, health and sanitary items and baby diapers at Ryan’s Recker Service. They will be delivering the donations to Webster Springs.

- The Philippi Volunteer Fire Department will take donations from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28.


Doddridge County

- The Doddridge County High School football team will be donating equipment to the Clay County High School football team, who lost everything in the flood. They will also be donating some money from their booster account. If anyone would like to contribute, they can bring their donation to the football field during their evening practice on Wednesday, June 29.

- The Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department will be accepting donations.


Gilmer County

- The Gilmer County Office of Emergency Management will plan to travel to the southern part of the state Friday, July 01 and are accepting donations in a large box trailer parked across from Hardman’s in Glenville until then.


Harrison County

- The law firm of McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner, along with MVB Bank, are collecting donations and will be loading up a 16-foot trailer starting Tuesday, June 28 at 9 a.m. They will continue to collect donations at their Clarksburg location at 400 W. Main Street until Friday, July 01, when they will travel to Clay and Clendenin to set up their grills and cook for people in need. They’re requesting bottled water, gallons of water, nonperishable food items, cleaning supplies, such as buckets, mops, paper towels, and bleach, shovels, baby food, diapers, wipes, clothing, dog food and cat food.

- Primantis Bros. will donate a portion of their proceeds on Friday, July 01 and Saturday, July 02 to flood relief.

- Sam’s Club will offer a free membership for 30 days if you’ll be buying flood relief supplies. Just bring your ID and follow their instructions.

will be making donations to send to the flood victims that were effected in the southern part of the state. There’s no special ticket or flyer that you have to have to participate, all you have to do is come in and eat on those given days! Help us help our fellow mountain state residents.

- The Clarksburg Beauty Academy is offering 50 percent off any service when you bring in a donation for flood relief until Friday, July 01.

- Julio’s Cafe in Clarksburg is donating 25 percent of all pasta proceeds to flood relief. This will begin Monday, June 27 and run until July 01. They will also accept all other donations.

- Main Street Fitness in Bridgeport is accepting donations. If 500 items are donated, a full free week of classes will be available in July. They’re accepting drinking water, nonperishable food items, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, baby products, and first aid supplies.

- The Wallace Volunteer Fire Department will have a spaghetti and meatball dinner at their department on Friday, July 01 at Noon. All proceeds will go directly to purchase goods for flood relief. They are also accepting donations. Contact 304.796.4014 for more information.

- The City of Clarksburg, along with the Clarksburg-Harrison Cultural Foundation, will be collecting donations for flood relief during the Celebrate America event at the Clarksburg Amphitheater on Saturday, July 02. The Clarksburg Fire Department will be set up in the parking lot of the amphitheater to collect those donations from 6 p.m. until the conclusion of the event at approximately 9:30 p.m.

- The Salvation Army is accepting donations of cleaning/sanitary items and food to help aid flood victims in the southern part of the state at their Clarksburg, Upshur County and Lewis County locations. They are unable to process clothing donations at their thrift stores at this time, but if a flood victim comes in, they can get them the clothing needed. Any cash donations will also be sent directly to the affected areas, a Salvation Army official said.

- The Bridgeport Fire Department on West Main Street will be accepting donations. They’re requesting water, nonperishable food, cleanup kits, bleach, brooms and maps.

- The Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department, the Lumberport Volunteer Fire Department and the Spelter Volunteer Fire Department will be accepting donations. They are requesting bottled or jugged water, nonperishable food items and cleaning supplies, such as hand soap and laundry detergent. If no one is present at the fire department, supplies can be dropped off outside.

- The Stonewood Volunteer Fire Department is collecting items. They’re requesting cleaning supplies, especially bleach, baby wipes, diapers, baby food and formula, toiletries, work gloves, toilet paper, feminine hygiene items, shampoo, toothpaste/toothbrushes, batteries, buckets, garbage bags, face masks and bottled water.

- Harrison County Animal Control and the Harrison County Humane Society will be making a trip Friday, July 01 to Clay County and is in need of all animal-related necessities, including food, leashes, litter, etc. Donations can be taken to the shelter on Saltwell Road in Shinnston before late afternoon on Friday.

- All four locations of PARCS Superstores will accept donations. They are asking for any yard and lawn tools to help in the cleanup. They’ll be sending trailers daily.

- The Old Time Baptist Church in Clarksburg will be accepting clothing donations. Contact 304.623.4388 to arrange a drop off.

- Fellowship Bible Church at 70 Deegan Lake Road in Bridgeport will be collecting donations fall week. Items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday, June 27 through Friday, July 01. They are requesting nonperishable food items, bottled water, new or lightly worn clothing, diapers, toiletries, pet care products/food, washcloths and towels, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, rubber gloves, laundry detergent, flashlights, batteries, blankets and pillows, and feminine products.

- Tudor’s Biscuit World is collecting supplies to take to the southern part of the state. Both the Bridgeport and Morgantown locations will accept donations.

- Calvary United Methodist Church in Clarksburg will be accepting donations on Thursday, June 30 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To set up another time to drop things off if you’re unable to make it Thursday, contact 304.476.8788.

- Chenoweth Ford in Clarksburg will be accepting donations.

- Harry Green Chevrolet Nissan in Clarksburg will be accepting donations.

- Eastern Pet Supply in Bridgeport is now accepting donations for animals affected by flooding. You can receive 5-10 percent off in the store on certain items, if you’re willing to donate, or you can bring items in. They have a truck leaving Thursday, June 30. They’re in need of animal food, litter boxes, litter, and animal crates.

- Clarksburg Baptist Church will be accepting donations.


Lewis County

- Weston Walmart will accept donations from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

- Weston Shop-N-Save Express will accept donations on Wednesday, June 29 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

- The Pricetown Volunteer Fire Department will be accepting donations.

- The Salvation Army is accepting donations of cleaning/sanitary items and food to help aid flood victims in the southern part of the state at their Clarksburg, Upshur County and Lewis County locations. They are unable to process clothing donations at their thrift stores at this time, but if a flood victim comes in, they can get them the clothing needed. Any cash donations will also be sent directly to the affected areas, a Salvation Army official said.

- The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston is sending a crew to the southern part of the state Thursday, June 30. They’ll accept donations and fill a van to take Friday, July 01, as well.


Upshur County

- The Buckhannon Fire Department is accepting donations.

- Goody’s in Buckhannon will be accepting donations, and in return, they’ll give you a $10 coupon to use in the store.

- The Adrian Fire Department in Adrian will be accepting donations Tuesday, June 28 beginning at 11 a.m. Call Chief Harlow at 304.406.4808 with any questions or to schedule an alternative drop-off time.

- Freedom Homes in Buckhannon will be accepting donations.

- The Salvation Army is accepting donations of cleaning/sanitary items and food to help aid flood victims in the southern part of the state at their Clarksburg, Upshur County and Lewis County locations. They are unable to process clothing donations at their thrift stores at this time, but if a flood victim comes in, they can get them the clothing needed. Any cash donations will also be sent directly to the affected areas, a Salvation Army official said.

Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Offers to Match Flood Relief Gifts

The Free Press WV

To encourage local gifts of cash toward flood relief efforts in West Virginia, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) is matching the first $10,000 raised through the PACF for this purpose.

PACF’s Executive Director, Judy Sjostedt, said, “We are all deeply saddened by the catastrophic losses suffered by our fellow West Virginians. This recent flooding is unique given that so many of the locations which flooded had little history of prior issues. As a result, a large number of the affected families did not carry flood insurance and thus, face devastating losses. As a community foundation, PACF’s leaders and supporters want to help our neighbors at this time of great need.” 

“There are many different ways to aid flood relief efforts from donating one’s time to providing materials or other resources. We urge everyone to find some way to help. PACF is offering a local means by which citizens can multiply their cash donations to strengthen the impact of those gifts. Since these gifts must be put to use swiftly, we are offering to match up to $10,000 in cash gifts made for flood relief to PACF by check or cash from now until Friday, July 1st at noon.

All monies raised by PACF plus PACF’s matching funds will be distributed—100%—for flood relief in West Virginia, shared between the American Red Cross and the West Virginia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). An interdenominational effort, VOAD coordinates resources and efforts for many different volunteer groups in the flood areas. Should monies beyond the initial $10,000 matching amount be received, those funds will also be directed to flood relief. A public report will be issued following the campaign.

To make a donation that will qualify toward the matching resources, checks should be made payable to PACF (memo line “flood relief”) and dropped off to PACF during normal business hours at the Foundation’s Central Office at the Vasan Family Center for Philanthropy, 1620 Park Avenue in Parkersburg (directly across from the main entrance to City Park). Qualifying gifts can also be made by credit card online on the Foundation’s website, www.pacfwv.com, using the “Network for Good” button on the top right side of the page (be sure to use the designation box to identify your gift as for flood relief).

As PACF seeks to provide these monies for flood relief quickly, the matching offer closes at noon on Friday, July 1st. Please send any questions to or call 304.428.4438.

The Free Press WV

Mosquito Bite Prevention is Important During Flood Clean Up

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health is encouraging residents to take mosquito bite precautions while conducting flood clean up.

“Flooding leads to increased mosquito activity which can elevate the risk of mosquito bites and the potential for mosquito-borne diseases,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health. “Standing or pooling water from recent heavy rainfall and flooding across the state have created conditions for mosquito breeding. It is important to be proactive in protecting yourself as flood clean up is underway.”


The following actions should be considered to reduce the risk of mosquitoes and mosquito bites in areas where flood clean up is occurring:

• Remove flood-water debris on and around your property.

• Empty or drain potted plant bases, tires, buckets or containers, and roof gutters.

• Drain any pooled rainwater or floodwater that may have collected in containers around your property.

• Be sure to wear insect repellent.

• Wear long sleeves and pants while conducting flood clean up.

• Dispose of potential mosquito breeding sites by emptying stagnant pools of water around your house and yard, if possible.


Mosquito-borne illness could include Lacrosse Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.  More information about mosquito-borne disease and prevention is available online at www.dide.wv.gov.

School Clothing Allowance Applications Accepted July 01-31, 2016

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Family Assistance will begin accepting school clothing allowance applications July 1, 2016, for eligible children enrolled in West Virginia schools.

“Clothing and shoes are important and necessary back-to-school supplies for growing children,” said Nancy Exline, Commissioner of the Bureau for Children and Families. “The school clothing allowance program enables eligible West Virginia children to have access to needed items and begin a new school year with comfort and confidence.”

Families with school-aged children currently receiving WV WORKS cash assistance, as well as those providing foster care, will automatically receive school clothing allowance vouchers for each school-age child in the home by mid-July 2016.

Families who received school clothing allowance vouchers in 2015 and currently receive Medicaid or SNAP benefits from DHHR should have received an application by mail in June 2016.  To ensure prompt delivery of the vouchers, mailing address updates should be made to the Customer Services Center at 1.877.716.1212 or online at www.wvinroads.org
Each eligible child will receive a $200 voucher that may be used toward the purchase of appropriate school clothing or piece goods for families who sew clothing for their children.  Vouchers must be used at participating stores by October 31, 2016.

Others may be eligible for school clothing vouchers, but the monthly income for a family of four may not exceed $2,025.

To learn more about eligibility guidelines, or to apply, contact your local DHHR office, apply online at www.wvinroads.org or call 1.877.716.1212.  Verification of income for the month of July must be submitted with the application.

Applications must be received in the local DHHR office by July 31, 2016.

Dominion to Honor 18 Volunteers of the Year for Selfless Service to Communities

The Free Press WV
Dominion Transmission retiree recognized for volunteerism

18 individuals honored as 2015 Volunteers of the Year

Approximately 110,000 hours of community service by employees in 2015

Dominion to donate $1,000 to honorees’ charities of choice

CLARKSBURG, WV – Dominion will continue its 32-year legacy of celebrating volunteerism and community service during Benjamin J. Lambert, III, Volunteer of the Year events in Virginia and Ohio. The events will honor 18 outstanding employee/retiree volunteers whose efforts in 2015 brightened the lives of others and made lasting improvements in communities across the Dominion footprint.

Steve Carroll, a retiree from Dominion Transmission in Bridgeport, WV, was recognized by Dominion for his desire to help and serve others. Steve is a volunteer pastor for Peoples Hospice at the United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, WV In this role, Steve provides counseling services to terminally ill patients.  He sits with patients, prays and counsels with them during their last and final hours of life.  He also leads memorial services, funerals and basically anything that he is asked to do. He was selected as Volunteer Chaplain of the Year in 2014. The Peoples Hospice will receive $1000 grant in Steve’s name.

“People’s Hospice, a department of United Hospital Center, is honored that one of our volunteer chaplains, Steve Carroll, is being recognized for the exceptional work that he does,” said Linda Carte, RN, MSN, AOCN, vice president of oncology and post-acute care at UHC.  “Patients and families often speak highly of Steve, as he is an integral part of our care team that provides support and care with respect and compassion. Chaplains journey with people through some their darkest places, yet they bring comfort and hope to many.”

Steve has been a chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team since 2010.  As a chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, he ministers to individuals in communities that have suffered loss of life and loss of homes and belongings through natural disasters by being present as people of the devastated communities deal with the aftermath of the death of friends and neighbors as well as the physical devastation of their community. 

In addition to Peoples Hospice, Steve has also worked for many years volunteering for The Harrison County Bi County Nutrition program. This is a United Way Program non-profit agency serving meals to individuals 60 years of age or older, or disabled, in Doddridge and Harrison Counties. Steve joined the Board of Directors for Bi-County Nutrition in 2015. 

“Last year, Dominion volunteers collectively contributed nearly 110,000 hours of time and focused on multiple good causes,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “I salute our volunteers for stepping up and getting involved; for going the extra mile to enrich lives and make good things happen in their communities.”

Hailing from Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, the 2015 Volunteers of the Year were recognized during awards ceremonies to be held in Akron, Ohio,  and in Richmond, Virginia. As part of the award, the company donated $1,000 to each honoree’s charity of choice.

Dominion volunteers dedicate their time and skills to a variety of charitable activities – from stocking food pantries to building outdoor classrooms, weatherizing homes to reading to children. A wide range of nonprofit organizations have benefited, including those working to revitalize communities, meet human needs, promote education and improve the environment.

In 2015, Dominion and its charitable foundation invested more than $23 million in programs that helped improve the quality of life for people in the communities where they work and live. Dominion’s longstanding volunteer program was recognized with several awards, including the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 2015 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award and the Oil & Gas Industry Northeast Summit’s Corporate Responsibility Award.

$5.8 MILLION IN AMERICORPS FUNDING FOR WEST VIRGINIA

The Free Press WV

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) announced that West Virginia has received more than $5.8 million in AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for volunteering and service programs.

“In West Virginia, we have a long tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, giving back to our communities and contributing our time and service to improve the places that we live for our children and for future generations,” Senator Manchin said. “The value of national service can never be overstated. It is an important part of our identity as West Virginians and Americans. I am pleased that AmeriCorps members and organizations throughout our state will be receiving resources to ensure that community service continues to improve families and communities in our state.”

“I have often said that West Virginia is like one big small town where our people come together to help one another in times of need,” said Senator Capito. “These AmeriCorps grants are incredibly important to help expand this West Virginia philosophy and improve our communities by promoting volunteer service across our state. I look forward to seeing first-hand the positive impact AmeriCorps members have on our students, families and small towns as a result of this generous funding.”

“Volunteers are at the heart of our state’s communities, and AmeriCorps members are a valuable resource for West Virginians across the state,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “Volunteerism is an essential part of solving many of the challenges we face as a state and a nation, and AmeriCorps helps to unite communities to support a common goal. I’m grateful for the many West Virginians and those around the country who have answered the call to serve one another through AmeriCorps.”

“For more than 20 years, AmeriCorps members have had a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our nation,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Building on West Virginia’s strong tradition of neighbor helping neighbor, AmeriCorps members will improve lives and strengthen communities across West Virginia. While they serve others, AmeriCorps members will also expand opportunity for themselves - gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. I salute every AmeriCorps member for his or her dedication and determination to ‘get things done’ and respond to the needs in their communities.”

CNCS and Volunteer West Virginia, the Governor-appointed state service commission, have awarded 13 AmeriCorps grants to West Virginia nonprofits totaling $3.9 million, which will support 883 AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members will tackle some of the toughest problems in West Virginia including mentoring and tutoring at-risk youth, facilitating access to healthy foods, building trails and cleaning up parks, and more.

CNCS will also provide up to $1.9 million in education scholarships for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants to help pay for college, vocational training, or pay back student loans. The federal investment is projected to generate an additional $3.4 million in local support to increase community impact and return on federal investment.

The current year’s AmeriCorps grant cycle was highly competitive, due to the strong demand by organizations seeking AmeriCorps resources. The 2016 competition prioritized investments in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, disaster services, and continued a new initiative for governors and mayors.

Below is a listing of 2016 competitive AmeriCorps grants in West Virginia:

    •  West Virginia University: Energy Express AmeriCorps members will provide reading assistance to and meals for low-income 1st-6th grade students during summer break.  (510 AmeriCorps members)


    •  Education Alliance: AmeriCorps members will provide dropout prevention mentor-based services that addresses student attendance, behavior, and course performance in 12 state districts. (35 AmeriCorps members)


    •  Appalachian Forest Heritage Area: AmeriCorps members serving in 16 counties will provide community development assistance, improve historic buildings, and recruit volunteers for conservation and community projects in small Appalachian towns. (26 AmeriCorps members)


    •  United Way of Central West Virginia: AmeriCorps members will provide academic support, training in financial literacy and job skills, facilitate access to healthy foods and nutrition, and support low-income families throughout the state. (70 AmeriCorps members)

In addition to the four competitive grants, Volunteer West Virginia, the Governor-appointed state service commission, will be making the following eight grants through formula funding provided by CNCS: 


    •  The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area:  AmeriCorps members will strengthen community development and support cultural heritage tourism in 16 counties in the highlands of West Virginia.


    •  Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia: AmeriCorps members will build trails, upgrade parks, clean local streams, and renovate historic sites in McDowell and Wyoming Counties. (16 AmeriCorps members)


    •  High Rocks Educational Corporation: AmeriCorps members will support youth education, increase volunteerism, and provide nutrition education in 8 counties. (23 AmeriCorps members)


    •  Preservation Alliance of West Virginia: AmeriCorps members will plan and implement heritage tourism events, develop heritage tourism destinations, preserve historic resources, and recruit more than 900 volunteers. (24 AmeriCorps members)


    •  Ohio West Virginia Youth Leadership Association: AmeriCorps members will mentor pre-teens and build more effective leadership skills in teenagers at Camp Horseshoe. (24 AmeriCorps members)


    •  Mid-Ohio Valley Board of Health: AmeriCorps members will serve as community health workers, improving health outcomes for high risk populations by providing chronic disease management, diabetes self-management training, and educating residents about basic self-care. (19 AmeriCorps members)


    •  Grow Ohio Valley: AmeriCorps members will improve access to fresh, locally grown produce to distressed neighborhoods in Brooke, Marshall, and Ohio Counties. (17 AmeriCorps members)


    •  Playmates Child Care: AmeriCorps members will facilitate service learning projects and other enhancement for students ages 5-12 to increase educational skills. (31 AmeriCorps members)


In addition, Energy Express will receive funding to engage 80 teen volunteers ages 14-17 to serve as Summer Opportunity AmeriCorps members. These members will provide leadership and support to other teen and pre-teen volunteers and help carry out the summer reading and feeding program at sites across West Virginia.

AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 21,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.

Over the past two decades, more than 980,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps providing more than 1.3 billion hours of service, and earning more than $3.1 billion in education scholarships. Later this year, the one millionth AmeriCorps member will take the AmeriCorps pledge, committing to ‘get things done’ for America.

In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►   Iconic West Virginia resort turns shelter for flood refugees

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - Its owner says an iconic West Virginia resort may take a couple of months to reopen after deadly floods, but Greenbrier’s maimed championship golf course may not be ready for play much before the PGA Tour rolls through next July.

The floods that swept through West Virginia last week and killed at least 23 people statewide carved a path of destruction unseen in generations at the historic Greenbrier.

When the worst was over, Greenbrier employees came upon two bodies on the resort grounds.

Dating back to 1778, the 700-room resort has long been one of the jewels of West Virginia’s tourism industry, hosting presidents and royalty.

On Tuesday, 300 of the neediest victims from the flood-ravaged area occupied the rooms, and the hotel was closed for business while it fed and sheltered the disaster refugees.


►   Frontier Communications donates to America Red Cross flood relief efforts

CHARLESTON, WV — The American Red Cross of West Virginia received a $50,000 donation from Frontier Communications to assist those impacted by last week’s devastating floods with disaster relief and recovery efforts.

“We are so grateful to Frontier Communications for this philanthropic gift. It will go a long way in providing vital support to local individuals and families in the aftermath of this disaster,” said Erica Mani, chief executive director for the West Virginia region. “This funding will help us continue to provide emergency shelter, food, clothing, and replacement of critical medications or eyewear right when they need it most.”

Red Cross workers from all over the state and country continue to support Red Cross shelters open throughout the affected areas. Meals and relief supplies such as clean-up kits, meals, snacks and water are being throughout the affected communities.

“The Red Cross is helping people right now with emergency needs such as shelter and meals while caseworkers are helping those affected with recovery planning,” Mani said. “We will continue to support them in the days, weeks and months to come as they begin to plan their next steps.”

Many families have lost their homes and everything they own in this flooding.. People can donate to those affected in the West Virginia Floods by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word WVFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to West Virginia Floods enable the Red Cross to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from these disasters.


►   UHC Holds Round Table Discussion for Community Health Needs Assessment

BRIDGEPORT, WV — Since late May, United Hospital Center (UHC), in conjunction with the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Public Health, has been conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for Harrison and Doddridge counties.

“Provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 require tax-exempt (non-profit) hospitals to conduct a CHNA to address the needs of their community at least every three years,” said John Fernandez, vice president of operations at UHC. “The regulations for the CHNA include defining the hospital’s service area and compiling demographics and analysis of health indicators; taking into account input from the community and public health; identifying resources; and prioritizing needs.”

The last time UHC conducted a CHNA was in 2013.  It showed a need in the areas of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, physical inactivity and access to health care services for the uninsured and underinsured.

“Programs were developed and services were provided to address these issues,” said Fernandez.  Some of these included:

• UHC’s Dare-to-Care program, which offers free cardiovascular screenings to all patients at risk for cardiovascular disease.

• Increased cancer screenings and expanded the clinical navigator program to include all patients with a cancer diagnosis.

• Expanded diabetes screenings and education.

• Continued Camp Catch Your Breath; a week-long summer camp staffed by UHC Associates for children ages 8-13 living with asthma. Co-sponsored with the American Lung Association.

• Co-sponsored “Harrison WE Can” that brings together people struggling with wellness issues related to obesity, sedentary lifestyles and/or poor nutrition. 

• Continued to work with and support Health Access, the free clinic in Clarksburg serving the uninsured and underinsured populations of Harrison and Doddridge counties.

“The WVU School of Public Health has assisted UHC with facilitating the 2016 CHNA,” said Emily Vasile, Assistant Program Director, Health Research Center School of Public Health West Virginia University. “At the round table discussions, we had the opportunity to inventory existing programs, services, barriers and facilitators to public health in the community (Harrison and Doddridge counties).  These will be summarized and used to address the needs that will be identified in the CHNA.”

The roundtable provided an opportunity to gain additional information not captured by the survey. From the results of the survey, roundtable, and published data, UHC will now be able to better match existing programs and services to the community’s needs as well as develop programming to address any gaps.

“It is my hope that the 2016 CHNA will provide us with the information to make decisions that will allow UHC to even better fulfill our mission of enhancing the health status of the citizens of North Central West Virginia,” said Fernandez.


►   Four Pools, Golf Course to Close Due to Budget Shortfall

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says it will close four pools and a golf course to address an expected budget shortfall of nearly $1 million in the coming fiscal year.

The agency said in a statement that it also plans to consolidate some management positions and some seasonal maintenance employees will be eliminated.

The pools to be permanently closed include those at Kanawha and Cabwaylingo state forests and those at Babcock and Twin Falls Resort state parks.

Officials say those pools are among the most heavily subsidized and have seen a decrease in use and a loss in revenue.

The 9-hole golf course at Pipestem Resort State Park will close after Labor Day, though the park’s 18-hole golf course will remain open.


►   Appalachian Power Offering Free Inspections After Flood

Appalachian Power says it will pay for electrical inspections necessary to restore power for West Virginia flood victims.

Charleston manager of distribution systems Tom Johnson says the inspection is important to make sure restoring power is safe, even though it may seem like an additional burden for people already going through the aftermath of the storms.

The company said it will pay for the inspections during the flood emergency. It also said it’s contributing to flood relief and matching employee contributions to a relief fund.


►   State Personnel Board Votes to Lay Off 37 in Forestry

Several dozen West Virginia Division of Forestry employees are being laid off this week.

The forestry workers have helped clean up areas devastated by last week’s flooding and hauled supplies to flood victims. They police the state’s logging industry and fight forest fires.

The State Personnel Board voted Tuesday to approve the plan to lay off 37 division employees. Their last day on the job will be Thursday.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has blamed the cuts on state lawmakers. The division wound up with a $1.7 million shortfall after lawmakers passed a lower severance tax on the timber industry than Tomblin requested.

State legislative leaders have said Tomblin didn’t give them a heads-up about the pending forestry cuts. Lawmakers have said they would have looked for ways to spare the jobs if he had.


►   Labor Unions File Lawsuits Challenging Right-To-Work Law

Eleven state labor unions have filed petitions in Kanawha Circuit Court challenging the state’s new “right-to-work” law as an illegal taking of union property and resources.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, contends that the Workplace Freedom Act is intended to discourage union membership by “enabling nonmembers of unions to get union services for free.“ The legislation allows employees in union shops to opt out of paying union dues.

The lawsuit says one intent of the law is to discourage employees from joining unions.

Josh Sword, secretary of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, one of the plaintiffs, says the case will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which strongly advocated for passage of right-to-work, says the lawsuit is “not unexpected.“

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WHAT THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP WOULD HOPE TO GAIN FROM THE TURKEY AIRPORT ATTACK

If it is behind the carnage, it would be in keeping with its accelerated tactic of exporting terror, apparently aimed at deflecting attention from mounting losses in Syria and Iraq.


LEADERS OF CANADA, MEXICO AND THE U.S. PUSH BACK AGAINST ISOLATIONISM

Obama, Trudeau and Pena Nieto defended their calls for freer trade and warned against easy solutions peddled by “demagogues.“


CONGRESS CLEARS PUERTO RICO RESCUE BILL IN RARE SHOW OF BIPARTISAN UNITY

The package aims to help the U.S. territory, teetering on economic chaos, with its $70 billion debt.


EU LEADERS SAY UK MUST ACCEPT EUROPEAN WORKERS OR GIVE UP SEAMLESS SINGLE MARKET

The 27 other EU nations set out a united strategy ahead of complex departure negotiations with Britain.


HOW MUCH TIME AMERICAN ADULTS ARE SPENDING USING MEDIA EACH DAY

An average of 10 hours, 39 minutes each day on smartphones, tablets, TV, radio, computers and video games, according to a Nielsen study - an hour more than last year.


MCCONNELL’S TASK OF SHIELDING GOP SENATORS FROM TRUMP UPHEAVAL

The Senate majority leader’s strategy includes setting up votes on issues that will help vulnerable incumbents and pushing for an independent super PAC focused on Senate Republicans.


WHOSE RESEARCH WAS KEY TO THE SUPREME COURT RULING AFFIRMING ABORTION RIGHTS

A University of Texas team produced research so prolific in their scrutiny of women’s health laws that a state health official lost his job for collaborating with them.


WHY THERE IS HOPE FOR MOTHERS FED UP WITH LOUD, CUMBERSOME BREAST PUMPS

A growing number of startups are trying to come up with designs that use soft silicone parts or keeping their noise level down to make it easier for mothers to work and pump simultaneously.


PHELPS, FRANKLIN QUALIFY FOR RIO AT U.S. SWIMMING TRIALS

Phelps is heading to his fifth Olympics after winning the 200-meter butterfly, while Franklin bounced back from disappointment with a second-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle.


MISS TEEN USA DROPS THE SWIMSUIT PORTION OF ITS COMPETITION

The pageant will replace the bathing suit section with an athletic wear competition.

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In USA….

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►   Jalapeno-Bacon Mac-and-Cheese Kid Allegedly Assaults Cop

A former University of Connecticut student who went on a drunken, obscenity-laced tirade about jalapeno-bacon macaroni and cheese has been arrested in Florida after an altercation with a police officer, the AP reports. Luke Gatti was charged May 28 in Boca Raton with battery on an officer and resisting an officer with violence. According to the Hartford Courant, the incident took place at a treatment facility for people dealing with drug addiction and mental illness.

Last year, the 20-year-old was arrested over his October 4, 2015, outburst in the Student Union. He ranted at and shoved a university food service supervisor for refusing to sell him the macaroni and cheese. The altercation was caught on video and was widely viewed online. Gatti was put on probation and released his own video in which he apologized for his actions.


►   Driver Sues Bar After Drinking for 8 Hours, Crashing Car

A Texas man who went on an eight-hour drinking binge and then drove his car into a concrete wall is suing the watering hole in a Dallas suburb that served him because, as his lawyer puts it, “You don’t let a customer do that.“ Gordon Savage is suing W.W. Fairfield’s for negligence and seeking $1 million in damages after drinking from 6pm to after 2am last December, his attorney tells the Dallas Morning News.

Savage says that he attempted to drive home drunk but didn’t make it after he crashed into a concrete dividing wall at 3:10am. He was treated for severe injuries at a nearby hospital but police never charged him with driving under the influence. Fortunately, he didn’t injure anyone else in the crash, reports the Houston Chronicle, which in 2012 analyzed the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission’s Dram Shop laws that allow for drinking establishments to be held liable in the event of injury that results from drinking to excess. It found that criminal prosecutions against such establishments are brought only rarely. In this case, a jury will decide what proportion of responsibility belongs to the bar.


►   Man’s Rent Leaps From $1.8K to $8K

The Rent Is Too Damn High party may have a new voter: Neil Hutchinson, a San Francisco man whose rent has just gone from $1,800 a month to $8,000. Hutchinson tells ABC7 that the 344% increase went into effect this month and he is appealing it to the San Francisco Rent Board—but the board’s decision won’t be finalized until August, and his landlord just served him with an eviction notice, ordering him to be out by July 21. “I don’t know where I’m going to go if I have to leave here,“ the 47-year-old says. He tells the San Francisco Chronicle that he signed a lease and lived with roommates when he moved into the North Beach apartment six years ago but with other tenants having moved out, the landlord is now arguing that rent controls don’t apply to him.

Hutchinson, a video engineer who works at conventions, says having to commute from somewhere with saner rents than San Francisco—which would be just about anywhere else in the country—would be “brutal to his career” and make it “very economically hard to produce the same number of hours,“ especially since he doesn’t have a car. According to the Chronicle, the median monthly rent in the neighborhood has soared to $6,850. Housing experts in the city say the rent hike Hutchinson has been slapped with is one of the biggest they can remember, though there was a case last year in which a tenant’s landlord notified her that her $2,145 had suddenly quadrupled.


►   Mark Zuckerberg Is Building ‘Oppressive’ Wall: Hawaiians

Mr. Zuckerberg, tear down that wall? So say neighbors in Kauai, Hawaii, who say the Facebook founder is not so “neighborly.“ Residents on the north shore say Mark Zuckerberg is building a “monstrosity” of a wall on the 700-acre property he bought in 2014. He’s reportedly using locally sourced materials, but “the feeling of it is really oppressive. It’s immense,“ one resident tells West Hawaii Today. “It’s really sad that somebody would come in, and buy a huge piece of land and the first thing they do is cut off this view that’s been available and appreciative by the community here for years.“ Another neighbor doesn’t have a problem with it: “I find that it greatly enhances the natural beauty of the land, appropriately makes use of local materials and serves as a tasteful reminder of an ancient method of defining boundaries,” he says.

Workers have “put some boards up, so you can see the future projection of the wall and what it will cut off,“ the first resident adds. “It’s quite dramatic because you can see all the pasture land and ocean underneath the boards.“ He predicts the wall will be at least six feet tall. Another resident says the wall already cuts out the breeze so “there’s not a breath of air on this side from the ocean.“ There’s been no response from Zuckerberg, but the Telegraph previously reported he’s a fan of his privacy. In 2013, he spent $30 million buying four homes near his Palo Alto abode to avoid new neighbors.


►   Brock Turner Judge Was Harsher in Similar Case

The Brock Turner controversy rumbles on: A defendant from a very different background than the former Stanford student received a much harsher sentence from the same judge in a similar case, the Guardian reports. According to court records, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky oversaw a plea deal earlier this year involving Raul Ramirez, a 32-year-old man from El Salvador who sexually assaulted his female roommate. Ramirez, who needed an interpreter in court, agreed to plead guilty in a deal that will see him spend three years in state prison, while Turner will spend just six months in county jail. Critics say that if Persky had treated Ramirez as leniently as he treated Turner, a white 20-year-old, the Latino man would have ended up with a much lighter sentence or even have avoided prison.

The deal “shows that Turner got consideration not available to other defendants who aren’t as privileged,“ says Michele Landis Dauber, a Stanford professor leading a campaign to recall Persky, who is a former Stanford student. Persky’s days on the bench may be numbered—a recent poll found that 66% of people in Santa Clara County would vote for recall, Palo Alto Online reports—but a group of Stanford law grads is urging Dauber to reconsider the recall campaign, Stanford Daily reports. In an open letter, they argue that it will be more effective to fight for “educating future judges and jurors about the realities of sexual assault, or pressing for systemic changes in how these cases are handled.“


►   Airbnb Sues Its Hometown

Airbnb has filed a lawsuit alleging its First Amendment rights have been violated and that rules surrounding a new city ordinance flout federal protection for internet companies, and its target is its own hometown, the Los Angeles Times reports. The ordinance in question was passed unanimously earlier this month by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, and when it takes effect within the next month or so (the New York Times says July; TechCrunch says August 1), Airbnb and other online rental marketplaces will have to ensure hosts renting out their homes are registered with the city. If the company doesn’t comply, it can be fined $1,000 per unregistered host per day or be forced to scrub its site of those listings. But in a blog post, Airbnb says “unfortunately, the rules do not work,“ and CNNMoney notes a registration process that may “turn off” some hosts, including a $50 fee and a mandate that all paperwork be turned in in person.

Specifically, the company claims the law will put some San Francisco residents at risk of eviction or foreclosure because of “confusing” registration rules, and that the ordinance would violate the 1996 Communications Decency Act and the Stored Communications Act, which, respectively, protect websites from liability due to user content and from having to hand over consumer info without appropriate legal measures. A rep for the San Francisco attorney’s office tells the San Francisco Business Times the city’s not regulating online content—it’s regulating the hosts’ business. “It’s simply a duty to verify information that’s already required of a regulated business activity,“ the rep says.


►   Texas Ruling Could Change Landscape of ‘Abortion Desert’

In Texas, just 19 abortion clinics remain (down from more than 40); in Mississippi, there’s just one abortion clinic in the entire state. But abortion rights advocates are hoping that Monday’s Supreme Court decision that Texas clinic laws are unconstitutional will help remedy the so-called “abortion desert” in the South and Midwest, as the Los Angeles Times frames it. While abortion critics in other states are shoring up laws similar to those in Texas—including some of the 200 or so restrictions passed between 2010 and 2014, per the Guttmacher Institute—as well as trying to implement new ones they say will protect fetal health, abortion rights advocates are celebrating the Supreme Court decision and making their own plans. “It’s a definitive ruling,“ says Dr. Willie Parker, who heads up the Mississippi clinic. “It doesn’t leave any wiggle room for people who have sought to abuse regulatory authority and gut the provisions of [Roe vs. Wade].“

Abortion rights supporters also hope the Supreme Court ruling will topple laws in other states (some laws are temporarily blocked, and the New York Times expects “waves of legal challenges”), and that at least some shuttered abortion clinics can be reopened. Per the Center for Reproductive Rights, besides Texas, five other states mandate that abortion clinics meet ambulatory surgical center standards, while nine other states say clinic doctors must have admitting privileges at local hospitals, the AP notes. As for opening the doors of closed clinics, especially those in rural areas, Whole Woman’s Health President Amy Hagstrom Miller tells the Times it’s a “daunting task” that will mean starting from square one with licensing, staffing, and other logistics. “We have the go-ahead to open clinics, but the process to undertake it is going to take time,“ she says.


►   Husband Died Shielding Wife in California Wildfire

Byron McKaig was a devoted husband until the very end. The 81-year-old Anglican priest perished alongside his 90-year-old wife Gladys in central California’s Lake Isabella wildfire last week, and a neighbor tells the Los Angeles Times that he appears to have died trying to protect his wife. Bill Johnson found their bodies next to a fence near the burning remains of their home. “They were together, like he was blocking her from the fire,“ says Johnson. “It made me sick because immediately I saw and knew exactly what had happened—that they were alive and ran out of this burning inferno and got stuck, and that was where they ended.“ Officials say the McKaigs were overcome by smoke, and they appear to have been the only people killed by the massive blaze, which destroyed around 200 homes, KPCC reports.

The fire is still only 40% contained, and authorities warn that there could be more destruction if winds blow it back toward populated areas. “There’s still more threats out there,“ fire chief Brian Marshall tells the AP. “This is going to go down as the most destructive wildfire in Kern County history.“ He says the residents of the communities surrounding Lake Isabella, including many elderly people, had little warning when the fire suddenly swept in on Thursday and some of them barely escaped with their lives. Weather.com reports that the fire, which authorities hope to have fully contained by Thursday, has become so huge that the blaze and plumes of smoke are clearly visible in images from space.


►   How a U.S. Murder Suspect Became a 9/11 Truther Abroad

On its own, the suspicious death of Kurt Sonnenfeld’s wife would be worthy of a magazine article. On January 1, 2002, his 36-year-old spouse was found shot to death in their upscale Denver home. Sonnenfeld insisted she killed herself, but prosecutors filed murder charges against him—only to drop them five months later. Then they charged him again in 2003, before discovering that he had moved to Argentina. The case involves the intricacies of forensics, theories about gun angles, a possible suicide note, and now international borders. But as a lengthy piece in GQ explains, that’s only the half of it. It was only in Argentina that Sonnenfeld’s work as an official videographer at Ground Zero for the federal government entered the picture. Sonnenfeld, with the help of his new wife in Argentina, has over the years become a media superstar in the country by championing the idea that the US knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance.

Among other things, he argues that he was summoned by FEMA suspiciously fast, and he speculates about why a vault found in the wreckage was empty—FEMA must have emptied it in advance. So, sure, he sounds like a crackpot. But his advocates say that the US government wants to have him extradited on the murder charges so he can be silenced through execution. If the truther-ism is a ploy, it seems to be working: The Argentine government refuses to extradite him, even though Denver authorities say they’re not interested in the death penalty. “One camp in this affair portrays Sonnenfeld as a devious murderer, while the other paints him as a persecuted whistle-blower,“ writes Evan Hughes at GQ. “But it is possible that neither is true: Even if you believe that Sonnenfeld made up a lunatic story in a desperate plea for Argentine protection, you can still believe that he’s innocent of the crime.“ Click for the FULL STORY.


►   ‘Please Don’t Shoot’: Texas Family’s 911 Calls Released

Police have released the heartbreaking 911 calls placed in the moments before Texas mom Christy Sheats killed her two daughters Friday. In the first of three calls—which are “difficult to listen to,“ say police—Madison, 17, and Taylor, 22, can be heard pleading with their mom not to shoot. “Please forgive me, I’m sorry,“ a voice says, per the Houston Chronicle. “Please don’t shoot, I’m sorry.“ A scream is then heard, followed by a male voice believed to be that of husband and father Jason Sheats pleading, “Please don’t point that gun at us … I beg you, please put it away,“ per KHOU. “I promise you whatever you want,“ the man continues before the call ends. A second call includes only muffled voices, screams, and shouts, per the Chronicle.

In a third call, a neighbor describes the two daughters lying in the street. He watches as a woman in a purple dress emerges from the house with a gun and stands over one of the victims. “She’s trying to shoot again … but apparently she don’t have any more bullets,“ he says, per the Dallas Morning News. He watches the woman go back inside to reload, then return. “Oh! She shot her again,“ he says, per KHOU. “From the back. She was trying to run.“ He then hears more gunfire and sees the shooter on the ground—killed by a police officer’s bullet. A family friend says Sheats had recently moved back into the home and hid a gun in a couch before calling a family meeting. Fort Bend County police say they received a dozen calls from the home in four years, including three regarding suicide attempts. It isn’t clear who the calls were about.

In The World….

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►   Want a Job and a Cheap Home? This Town Wants You

“So many of the things Kiwis value, such as owning your own home and providing for your family, have become an impossible dream"—but not in the tiny town of Kaitangata. Bryan Cadogan, mayor of the Clutha district, which includes Kaitangata, on New Zealand’s South Island, says the town of 800 has more jobs than residents can fill, so it’s offering brand new houses on quarter-acre lots for $160,000 to entice people to move in; affordable housing in Auckland can cost more than twice as much, reports Radio NZ. There are about 1,000 vacant jobs in the district and many others—at a dairy processing plant, for example—are filled by workers bused in from a city more than an hour away, per the Guardian. Even youth unemployment is “down to two. Not 2%—just two unemployed young people,“ Cadogan says.

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The jobs available—including in nursing, construction, and the military—are “phenomenally good” with salaries up to $35,500 per year, Cadogan tells the BBC, adding the local bank and lawyers have teamed up to offer discounts on costs associated with buying a home. Interested? Here’s what Kaitangata has to offer: There’s great fishing, a primary school, bar, pizza place, and a fish and chip shop. A convenience store closed last week but a supermarket is only an eight-minute drive away. “This is an old-fashioned community, we don’t lock our houses, we let kids run free. We have jobs, we have houses, but we don’t have people,“ says a dairy farmer leading the recruitment drive. “We want to make this town vibrant again. We are waiting with open arms.“


►   One Airport Attacker Detonated Bomb After Being Shot

Three suicide bombers killed at least 36 people and injured more than 140 others in a Tuesday attack that could result in an escalation of the fight against ISIS. The blasts struck Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, which is the base of Turkish Airlines and a target certain to draw a strong response from the Turkish government. “This is a symbolic attack against the heart of Turkey,“ Soner Cagaptay from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy tells the Washington Post. He says that if the attack was indeed the work of ISIS, as authorities believe, it represents a major escalation and fighting the group will “now be unavoidable” for Turkey. In other coverage:

  • Reuters reports that officials say the three attackers arrived by taxi and blew themselves up in the airport’s arrival hall. At least one opened fire in the departures hall. Security footage shows another being shot and falling to the ground before detonating his explosives.
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack will be a “turning point” in the global fight against terrorism, the BBC reports. “The bombs that exploded in Istanbul today could have gone off at any airport in any city around the world,“ he said.
  • Most of the victims are believed to be Turkish, but an Iranian and a Ukrainian were also killed, the AP reports.
  • The airport, Europe’s third-busiest after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, reopened to flights early Wednesday.
  • ISIS hasn’t claimed responsibility, but authorities are focusing on the group instead of Turkish militants, the New York Times reports. Some analysts suspect the attack is a response to a recent thaw in relations with Israel.
  • The Guardian reports that the attack will be a serious blow to Turkey’s tourism industry, which was already struggling. China has now warned its citizens against travel there.
  • The attack was condemned by the US presidential candidates, the Washington Post reports. “All Americans stand united with the people of Turkey against this campaign of hatred and violence,“ Hillary Clinton said in a statement. Donald Trump told a rally in Ohio that “there’s something going on that’s really, really bad,“ and we must “do everything in our power to improve our security to keep America safe.“


►   Tunnel Hand-Dug by Jews to Flee Nazis Found in Lithuania

A 100-foot escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners using only their hands and spoons has been unearthed in Lithuania, a research team announced Wednesday. From 1941 to 1944, about 100,000 people (70,000 of them Jews from nearby Vilnius) were slaughtered by the Nazis, then dumped into burial pits in Lithuania’s Ponar forest—systemic murder that started even before the gas chambers in what archaeologist Richard Freund tells the New York Times was “ground zero for the Holocaust.“ To cover up the massacre, the Nazis forced 80 Jews from the nearby Stutthof concentration camp to exhume the bodies, burn them, and hide the ashes, Ynetnews reports. These “corpse unit” members were kept in a deep pit during the night, and some spent those hours digging an escape tunnel. On the night of April 15, 1944, 40 of them made a break for it. Guards shot many on sight, but 11 escaped and survived the war to tell the story of the legendary tunnel.

The research team led by Freund used a special geophysical process to locate the tunnel, combining radar and electrical resistivity tomography, which uses electricity to examine natural objects in the ground and soil disturbances that may have been caused by digging. These nonintrusive search methods allow scientists to explore sites that previously were off-limits, notes PBS, which will air a Nova documentary on the discovery in 2017. It also puts to bed the belief that stories told through the years about the tunnel were only a myth. “As an Israeli whose family originated in Lithuania, I was reduced to tears on the discovery of the escape tunnel,“ an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority tells Ynetnews. “[It] enables us to present not only the horrors of the Holocaust, but also the yearning for life.“


►   At Least 36 Killed in Suicide Bombings at Istanbul Airport

Several suicide bombers have hit Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, killing at least 36 people and wounding more than 140, Istanbul’s governor and other officials said Tuesday. The attack is being linked to ISIS. Turkey’s NTV television quoted Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin as saying three suicide bombers carried out the attack, the AP reports. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, speaking to reporters at the airport, said the attackers arrived in a taxi and blew themselves up after opening fire. Asked whether a fourth attacker might have escaped, he said authorities have no such assessment but are considering every possibility. Another Turkish official said two attackers detonated explosives at the entrance of the international arrivals terminal after police fired at them, while the third blew himself up in the parking lot.

Hundreds of passengers were spilling out of the airport with their suitcases in hand or stacked onto trolleys following the blasts. Others were sitting on the grass, their bodies lit by the flashing lights of ambulances and police cars. “We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off,“ a South African tourist said. “There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a hand gun.“ Police officers were reported among the wounded. Yildirim said all initial indications suggested ISIS was behind the attacks, which were the latest of several bombings to strike Turkey in recent months.


►   Lady Gaga Just Got Banned in China

You won’t be hearing, or likely seeing, Lady Gaga in China anytime soon. After the singer met with the Dalai Lama on Sunday to talk meditation and mental health, the Communist Party’s propaganda department ordered her songs banned in China, while state-controlled media were ordered to condemn the meeting, reports the Guardian. A government rep suggests he’s never heard of the singer—whom the BBC describes “one of, if not the most, popular Western musician in mainland China"—but says the Dalai Lama was trying to promote Tibetan independence, per the AP.

Gilmer County Schools Asks for $875,000 from SBA for Heating and Cooling at GCHS

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia School Building Authority’s board awarded Monday about $7.7 million in “major improvement project” funding to 13 school systems, including about $1 million to Fayette County to add six classrooms to Midland Trail High, thus paving a way to close the structurally deficient Ansted Middle.

In a voice vote with no nays heard, the SBA board members provided funding for projects in Barbour, Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Grant, Mason, Mercer, Monongalia, Nicholas, Putnam, Randolph, Ritchie and Tyler counties. Putnam got $336,000 for renovations at Buffalo Elementary, including replacement of the circa 1950s windows.

The board denied funding for four other counties that requested it: Kanawha, which requested $1 million to help build an auditorium for Horace Mann Middle; Gilmer, a state-controlled county that requested $875,000 for heating, ventilation and air conditions upgrades at Gilmer County High; Lincoln, which requested $1 million to add four classrooms to West Hamlin Elementary; and Summers, which requested $997,000 for heating, ventilation and air conditioning component replacements.

The major improvement project dollars usually are distributed annually, although this year the SBA — which has seen lawmakers and the governor make successive cuts to its available grant funding — combined two years’ worth of MIP grant funding and gave it all out Monday.

Schools systems are supposed to compete for the limited grant money by trying to make the case that their projects are the most worthy of funding. The SBA board gives out money from a much larger grant pot, the “needs” fund, in December, though even then it can’t afford to fund all school systems’ requests.

In another voice vote Monday with no nays heard, the board distributed $2.2 million from the 3 percent grant pot, which contains 3 percent of total distributable funds. This pot is used for projects that are regional or statewide in scope, including multi-county vocational centers.

Of the 3 percent money, Calhoun Gilmer Career Center, the Fred W. Eberle Technical Center in Buckhannon, the James Rumsey Technical Institute near Martinsburg, the Mid-Ohio Valley Technical Institute in St. Marys, the Roane Jackson Technical Center and the South Branch Career and Technical Center in Petersburg all received funding for school access safety upgrades, totaling $1.9 million.

The state Department of Education also got $107,000 to continue the Statewide Preventative Maintenance Program and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind in Romney received $192,000 to address what SBA documents dubbed “life safety issues,” including fire suppression system upgrades and installation in three buildings.

“This project addresses direct concerns from the State Fire Marshal’s Office that require immediate attention,” an SBA staff explanation of the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind’s funding request stated.

The board gave out all of the MIP money it had available this funding cycle, and almost all of the 3 percent money. It denied 3 percent grant funding requests from Cedar Lakes Conference Center, the Nicholas County Career and Technical Center near Ripley and the United Technical Center in Clarksburg, none of which addressed school access safety.

All of the projects funded Monday were the ones that the SBA’s staff ranked the highest.

The Fayette funding will allow for Ansted Middle’s kids to be moved to Midland Trail High.

Scott Raines, the SBA’s school planning and construction director, said Fayette’s citizens want to keep Midland Trail in some capacity, be it a high school or prekindergarten through eighth grade facility or something else.

“It is a very old building,” he said of Ansted. “It has a coal-fired boiler, steam piping ... there’s a sump pump in the stairwell, I mean these kids really need to be out of this facility.”

~~  Ryan Quinn - Gazette-Mail ~~


The following Major Improvement Project Grant awards were made by the Authority in their June 27, 2016 quarterly meeting:

​County ​Project Description ​Total Project Cost ​Local & Other Funds ​SBA Funds Awarded
​Barbour ​Phillip Barbour HS School Access Safety Improvements ​$400,000 ​$27,154 ​$372,846
​Berkeley ​HVAC and Energy Upgrades at Three (3) Schools ​$10,800,000 ​$9,805,743 ​$994,257
Cabell​ ​Milton Pre-K School Phase II Renovation ​$2,336,727 ​$1,342,470 ​$994,257
Fayett​e ​Midland Trail HS Classroom Addition ​$1,200,000 ​$205,743 ​$994,257
​Grant ​Petersburg ES Fire Alarm Replacement
​$141,158 ​$811 ​$140,347
​Mason ​Wastewater Treatment Plants at Three (3) Schools
​$1,000,000 ​$204,594 ​$795,406
​Mercer ​Princeton Middle School HVAC Renovations ​$3,265,000 ​$2,270,743 ​$994,257
​Monongalia ​Morgantown HS HVAC Replacement
​$717,220 ​$360,669 ​$356,551
​Nicholas ​Richwood HS Renovations
​$1,265,720 ​$317,348 ​$948,372
​Putnam ​Buffalo Elementary School Renovations ​$676,822 ​$340,354 ​$336,468
​Randolph ​Harmon School Renovations (Phase III & IV ​$227,800 ​$36,107 ​$191,693
​Ritchie ​Smithville ES Wastewater Treatment Plant Replacement
​$300,000 ​$101,149 ​$198,851
​Tyler ​Tyler County HS/MS Structural Renovations
​$511,000 $104,548​ ​$406,452
​Total ​$22,841,447 ​$15,117,433 ​$7,724,014
06.29.2016
EducationNewsWest VirginiaRegionBarbour CountyGilmer CountyGlenvilleNicholas CountyRitchie CountyTyler County(1) Comments

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~~~ Readers' Comments ~~~

The counties with the most matching money get the help.  Did Gilmer County have any money left to match the SBA with?  And why didn’t G Devono attend that meeting to make the case for Gilmer?

By Just Asking  on  06.29.2016

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Gilmer County Circuit Court Report

The Free Press WV

On Wednesday, June 15, 2016 Chief Judge Jack Alsop held Court in Gilmer County.


•  Not enough jurors were available for a criminal trial so the jury was excused to call back on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 regarding a trial on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.


•  He also heard a juvenile matter.


•  On Wednesday, June 22, 2016 the civil trial was continued and the March 2016 term of petit/magistrate jurors were excused.




On Monday, June 27, 2016 Judge Richard A. Facemire held Court.


•  Two fugitives from justice were before the court, namely:

1) Lester Liviskie from Ohio.

2) Dwayne Haywood from Maryland.

Both were represented by Shelly DeMarino of Glenville and waived to return to their respective states.

Authorities in those states have until 4:00 PM, Thursday, July 07, 2016 to pick them up at Central Regional Jail or they will be released.


•  State of West Virginia vs. Andrew Taylor

He was sentenced to 1-5 in the penitentiary for conspiracy and 6 months in Central Regional Jail for misdemeanor possession with sentences to run concurrently.

Both sentences were suspended and he was placed on 5 years probation and must reside with his mother.

He must obtain full time employment and perform 150 hours community service plus abide by a 9:30 curfew.

He must complete and outpatient substance abuse program through our local mental health facility, attend NA and AA classes and a parenting class.

He must pay court cost and child support and speak at schools regarding his crimes.

He was represented by Christopher Moffatt of Charleston.


•  One juvenile matter was continued.


•  One guardianship was granted.


•  One expungement was denied.

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