Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Gilmer County Elementary School

Walt Helmick, Commissioner of Agriculture, Gilmer County Elementary students, teachers, State Officials, and others gathered on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, to celebrate the groundbreaking for the school’s new high tunnel.

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(L-R) Gabe Devono, Superintendent, Ike and Sue Morris,
Aiden Isenhart,student representing Gilmer County Elementary School,
Walt Helmick, WV Agriculture Commissioner,
Nicole Viars, Assistant State Conservationist,
Jeff Griffith, NRCS, Jane Collins and Larry Sponaugle,
Conservation Supervisors for Gilmer County


The high tunnel has been ordered, Sue Morris has donated her construction team to put the high tunnel together, and the students are ready to learn how to grow vegetables and the nutritional benefits of eating their own grown food.

This has been a project of “total cooperation” from the community and everyone is excited about the benefits the students will receive from this project.

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This group picture will be framed and displayed in the school, thanks to Sue and Ike Morris

GSC Literary Magazine Open for Submissions

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The Trillium, Glenville State College’s literary and arts journal, is open for submissions for the 2017 issue.

All GSC students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members are invited to submit visual art, poetry, fiction, song lyrics, and other forms of creative expression.

Written submissions should be submitted electronically, as an attachment, to with contact information and a brief biographical statement about the author. Written works should be sent as Microsoft Word document attachments or as a RTF file.

Visual work can be sent in JPG, PNG, BMP, or GIF formats and should also include contact information, a brief description of the artwork, and a biographical statement about the artist.

The deadline for submissions is Monday, December 05, 2016.

For more information, contact , , or 304.462.6322.

In West Virginia….

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►   Couple charged after infant found with broken legs

A Braxton County couple is facing charges after police say their 1-month-old child suffered fractures to both of his legs.

West Virginia State Police said in a news release that 23-year-old Whitney King and 24-year-old Carey Coffman were arrested Thursday on two counts each of child neglect resulting in serious injury.

State police say the investigation began September 21 when the child was taken to the hospital with a fractured left leg.

Troopers say the injury was referred to as a “bucket handle” fracture which is commonly associated with abuse. Doctors also discovered the baby’s right leg had also been previously fractured and was healing.

Police say both parents were questioned and neither could explain how the injuries occurred.

It’s unclear if King and Coffman have attorneys.

►   Former schools credit union exec charged with embezzlement

The former director of a credit union for a West Virginia county’s school workers is facing charges of embezzling at least $156,300.

Former Ohio County Public Schools Federal Credit Union executive director Kathleen Gramlich was charged in a federal information Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wheeling.

The court filing says Gramlich embezzled the money between June 2013 and March 2016 to pay off personal debts.

The credit union serves about 1,000 current, former and retired Ohio County public school workers and their families.

The U.S. attorney’s office in northern West Virginia says Gramlich faces up to 30 years in prison if she’s convicted.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II said the accounts of credit union members were never in jeopardy.

►   Tractor Trailer Carrying Several Cars Catches Fire on Interstate 79

Three fire departments responded to a truck fire on Interstate 79 Saturday night.

Harrison County 911 said it happened in the southbound lanes near mile marker 124, which is the Jerry Dove Drive exit, around 8:19 p.m.

The tractor trailer was carrying several vehicles, and was a working fire when firefighters arrived on scene.

Fire departments from Anmoore, Bridgeport, and Stonewood responded.

No injuries have been reported.

►   FSU president to retire when contract ends in 2017

The president of Fairmont State University announced Friday that she will retire once her contract ends next year.

In an email sent to all of the school’s faculty, Maria Rose, the school’s 14th president, wrote that she had notified the school’s governing board that she plans to retire on June 30. University spokeswoman Ann Mazza said that Rose is retiring to spend more time with her family.

“As you know, an injury this summer didn’t slow me down — much — and I intend on working a full schedule and engaging with you until midnight of my final day on the job,” Rose wrote.

At a special meeting at the end of October, the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission is expected to approve guidelines for Fairmont State and Glenville State College to search for new presidents. Glenville State’s President Peter Barr announced in August that he, too, would retire at the end of the academic year.

Once the guidelines are set, the search committee may begin looking for Rose’s replacement.

Rose said that the school’s board of governors will serve as a search committee to find her replacement. The board is scheduled to meet again at 3 p.m. on December 08.

Rose has a long history with the school. She is a graduate of the school, and prior to her appointment as president in 2012, she served as the school’s provost and vice president for academic affairs as well as being a faculty member.

In her time as a faculty member, Rose taught developmental writing, reading and study skills and coordinated a campus-wide peer tutoring program, according to a news release from the school.

“Through the years, each of us has contributed to the story of this great institution,” she wrote. “I am grateful for your hard work, dedication and commitment to our students. I am grateful for the relationships built and lives changed by this University, which has made a great impact on my life.”

In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in education she received from Fairmont State, Rose earned a Master of Arts in reading and a doctoral degree in education curriculum and instruction from West Virginia University.

“You know that like many of our students, I was the first in my family to attend college. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and was glad to teach in public schools for 10 years,” Rose wrote to the faculty. “As I have told you before, there was never a doubt in my mind or in my parents’ minds that I would go to college, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would someday be a university president.

“That is the power of a higher education degree. Education can create opportunities you never dared to imagine.”

►   State of emergency ends in WV

Four months after Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency hours after the June 23rd flood, the emergency is over.  The state of emergency expired Friday in Kanawha, Clay, Greenbrier, Webster, and Nicholas Counties.  However, despite the State of Emergency ending, the recovery isn’t over.

“It’s been a significant situation for the individuals affected,” said Kanawha County Manager Jennifer Sayre. “It’s certainly been a serious situation for them to deal with and continue to deal with.”

Although the flood waters are long gone, the damage is still very evident in many communities.  Sayre and her counterparts in the other flood zone counties continue to work with victims on a number of long term recovery programs.  The Private Property Debris Removal program is still being administered.  The National Guard is working on the program to remove debris from private property after an assessment funded through FEMA.  Officials are continuing to look for grants to help with public infrastructure restoration.  Long term hazard mitigation funds are also available from FEMA on a separate program to either buyout and demolish flooded properties or retrofit them to survive the next flood.

“Even if the governor stands down the State of Emergency, we’re still in the area and still helping the community with the recovery effort,” Sayre said. “It’s going to be a long process.  Some of them are working as they can on their homes and some don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to rebuilding their homes so they’re doing it in the evenings and on weekends.  It could take months.”

Winter is coming on quickly and many are still working to rebuild after the disaster.  Sayre said from what she can tell in Kanawha County all flood victims displaced by the high water have at least found temporary shelter with family or in an apartment or temporary trailer provided by FEMA.

The governor’s State of Emergency cleared away red tape to allow state agencies to respond rapidly to evolving situations after the flood.  The recovery has reached the point it’s no longer necessary, but by no means is the recovery over especially for those who lost everything.

“It won’t be over quickly,” Sayre said. “The county commission and our offices will continue to help those affected by this flood and do anything we can to help the community.”

►   WV State police charge school janitor with sexual assault

A Kentucky high school janitor from West Virginia is facing sexual assault charges.

West Virginia State Police arrested Jerry Swafford, 60, of Mingo, Wednesday for allegedly touching a teenage student inappropriately. He’s the janitor at Belfry High School in Kentucky.

Troopers said they found the student passed out on Swafford’s bed following a house party. Swafford is also accused of providing teens at the party with alcohol.

According to WVSP, Swafford admitted to touching the student.

He was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and is being held at the Southwestern Regional Jail.

►   Tomblin says last overseas mission worth it

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said Thursday he’s been on the go since his investment mission to the United Kingdom and Ireland began last weekend.

Tomblin took time enough out from that schedule for an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

“We’re trying to get us more jobs in West Virginia and hoping to get additional investment from those in West Virginia,” said Tomblin, who is scheduled to return to the U.S. on Saturday.

Tomblin, state Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette and others were in Dublin, Ireland Thursday. The investment trip comes at a time when Tomblin has less than 90 days left in his final term in office and the state budget has an $81 million revenue shortfall after the first three months of the fiscal year. Despite that, Tomblin said the trip is cost-effective.

“You can’t just sit back and wait for people to come to West Virginia,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know what a good place we are to do business.”

Existing businesses from the area already in West Virginia include Williams Lea Tag, which Tomblin described as a back office business with more than 500 workers in Wheeling. Tomblin also met with officials from Randox Laboratories, which has a location in Jefferson County and is looking to expand. He had similar discussions with Christopher Peacock Cabinets which has an operation in Wardensville.

The governor indicated he’ll have some news from those meetings before he leaves office.

“It looks very positive and we probably should have some announcements in the next few weeks,” Tomblin said.

The time spent in London included meetings with officials associated with the plastics industry who are aware of West Virginia’s natural gas reserves, the governor said.

“They are very interested—both the plastics and chemical industries,” he said.

Tomblin has been on five international missions including previous trips to Japan, other areas of Europe and Brazil.

►   Kanawha County Commission Joins WV Paving Lawsuit

The Kanawha County Commission is joining the city of Charleston, the state of West Virginia and three other cities in the state in suing West Virginia Paving over an alleged monopoly.

Commissioners voted Wednesday to join the lawsuit, which was filed last week in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

The complaint alleges that West Virginia Paving Inc. and its sister companies violated the state’s Antitrust Act. The companies took control of at least 15 asphalt plants and created a scheme that caused the municipalities to pay at least 40 percent more for asphalt, according to the lawsuit.

WV Paving, in a news release, said “there is no factual or legal basis for the lawsuit.“

Kanawha County has spent more than $822,000 on paving projects from WV Paving since 2007, said Deputy County Manager Andrew Gunnoe. More than $600,000 of that amount was part of a project to build a new bridge in Coonskin Park.

“I understand a lot of our paving is subsidized by state and federal funds; that’s not the point,“ commission President Kent Carper said. “It’s public funds. My observation is this: If their allegations are true — they had two companies competing with one another after they signed an agreement or a representation that they were independent — there’s a word for that.“

Carper said he plans to ask other county agencies whether they plan to join the lawsuit.

Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment

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She missed an opportunity Last Wednesday night to answer Antonin Scalia on the “individual” right to bear arms.

Compared with the rest of the third presidential debate Wednesday night, the opening conversation about the Constitution was practically Lincoln-Douglas-like as the candidates answered questions and didn’t interrupt each other. But the discussion of the seminal gun control case D.C. v. Heller was borderline incomprehensible unless you’ve recently taken constitutional law. And in giving an answer intended to express moderation on gun rights, Hillary Clinton missed a chance to express support for the original meaning of the Constitution.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News asked a series of substantive questions about gun rights. In particular, he asked about the 2008 Heller case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held by a 5-4 vote that the Second Amendment blocked regulations in Washington that essentially barred ownership of handguns.

Clinton rightly criticized the Heller decision when it came out. But in the debate, as the Democratic nominee, she soft-pedaled her opposition. Pressed by Donald Trump, she admitted to having been angry about it. But she said she only disagreed with the way the case applied the Second Amendment. And, crucially, she said she supported Second Amendment rights—including what she called an “individual right to bear arms.“

As a matter of pure politics, you can see why Clinton would have said she supports an individual right to bear arms. As Republicans flee their party’s nominee, it must seem attractive to try to gain some votes from gun owners, even if most card-carrying National Rifle Association members are probably beyond her reach. Saying the words “individual right to bear arms” is a signal of moderation, and maybe it would help attract some centrist voters.

But it was also unfortunate, because Clinton missed a chance to say that she thinks the original meaning of the Constitution is relevant to interpreting the document—a view that Trump said he held.

Clinton could have turned to the language of the Second Amendment, which reads in full: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.“           

Notably, this text says nothing about individual rights. The right conferred is a right “of the people.“ That’s the very definition of a collective right, not an individual one.

Of course, the Fourth Amendment also speaks of the “the right of the people” to security from unreasonable searches and seizures. And that’s been interpreted as an individual right.

But there’s a big difference. The first part of the Second Amendment explains why the right exists—and why it belongs to the people.

The amendment is to ensure the existence of a “well-regulated militia.“ The Framers’ generation understood exactly what that meant: state militias, regulated by state laws. Classical republican political thought loved militias and hated standing armies. Standing armies made of professional soldiers were an invitation to Roman-style military domination of politics through a Praetorian guard. Militias, by contrast, were made of part-time citizen-soldiers. They were therefore of “the people”—and not a threat to democracy.

That’s why the amendment says the point of militias is to protect the security of a “free state.“ Militias protect free states, goes the republican theory—standing armies endanger liberty.

Indeed, so powerful was the republican (and Republican) commitment to militias that James Madison relied on them in the War of 1812—to disastrous effect, when many militias refused to cross the border and invade Canada.

But in the Heller case, Justice Antonia Scalia basically denied the history of the amendment’s language and meaning. The details deserve their own treatment, but in essence he claimed that because the words “bear arms” could be used outside the context of militias, the amendment should be read to cover carrying weapons outside the well-regulated context of which the Constitution speaks.

That’s nonsense, and Heller is an embarrassment to historically informed constitutional interpretation. The idea that the Framers would have thought it should be applied to allow private citizens to carry concealed handguns isn’t intellectually plausible.

Clinton should have said so. At the very least, she should not have conceded that the Constitution properly interpreted requires an individual right to bear arms. It protects the collective right to a state-run, state-regulated militia. And sincerely original justices would overturn the Heller case.

  1. Part of the First Amendment mentions the “right of the people peaceably to assemble.“ That’s because assembly is a collective action.

    ~~  Noah Feldman ~~

G-LtE™: Trump Reminds Us He’s A Crude, Mean Boor

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Donald Trump has gone through his adult life with a chip on his shoulder.

He could never be the self-made man his father, Fred Trump, was. Manhattan elites would never really respect the guy from Queens, let alone treat him as one of their own. He was too loud, too crude, too classless. We have seen that mind-set play out time and again in the campaign, as Trump acts like a petulant child, a victim in a system that never lets him win.

That’s surely the feeling you got from his appearance at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Thursday night. The Washington Post reported:

“Speaking first at the Al Smith dinner in New York City on Thursday night – a dinner that benefits Catholic charities – Donald Trump took the opportunity to unleash a torrent of very-not-lighthearted jokes about Hillary Clinton. Many of them didn’t even seem intended to evoke laughs so much as controversy. They were the kind of thing you’d expect at a Trump rally, in fact.

“They ranged from Clinton hating Catholics to Clinton being corrupt to the Clinton Foundation’s alleged misdeeds in its relief efforts in Haiti.“

Trump got booed. At the Al Smith dinner. (That’s like a kid getting booed in a school play.)

Clinton wasn’t all that funny, but she understood what the evening was all about. She knows how to behave in polite company. Trump on Thursday didn’t or couldn’t control himself and apparently couldn’t find anyone willing to write good jokes for him. Had he shown up in swim trunks and a bathrobe at the white-tie affair, he could not have seemed more out of place.

How different is that from the campaign trail – where he is ignorant of things small and large, channels anger but engenders little affection and lacks any self-awareness?

Clinton landed a few good lines with an especially timely zinger about his submissiveness to the Russian president, remarking that Trump was “as healthy as a horse – you know, the one Vladimir Putin rides around on.“

(On Thursday came more evidence, as if any was needed, that it was the Russians who hacked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, prompting foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan to denounce Trump’s toadying: “There is no longer any doubt that Putin is trying to help Donald Trump by weaponizing WikiLeaks. Despite all the evidence, including the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, Donald Trump went on the debate stage and acted as Putin’s puppet, defending Russia and refusing to admit and condemn the Kremlin’s actions.“)

But as in the debate, Clinton won points simply by showing up at the dinner and not being awful.

Her best line skewering Trump may have come in the debate, when she chided Trump for using foundation money to buy a 6-foot painting of himself. “I mean, who does that?!?“ she exclaimed with the right mix of incredulity and disgust.

Her most effective lines were her serious ones, invoking the spirit of Al Smith, which wound up sounding like criticism of Trump. (She invited the audience to consider “how far we have come” from the days of anti-Catholic bigotry heaped on Smith. She continued on that “fears of division can cause us to treat each other as ‘the other,‘ “ which in turn “makes it harder for us to see each other and listen to each other.“) Perhaps in a pointed dig at the man who never saw a building he didn’t want to put his name on, she went on gently reminding us that “our greatest monument on this Earth won’t be what we build, but the lives we touch.“

In other words, Trump is no Al Smith. Trump, just as he was Thursday night, for the past 18 months and for his entire 70 years, cannot help but remind us that he is a crude, mean boor. And he always will be.

~~  Jennifer Rubin ~~

What Gods Do the “Three Peoples” Believe In

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In my reductive Three Peoples theory I propose that three kinds of people live in the modern world. There are the People of the Subordinate Self, workers and peasants who are clients to some great lord. There are People of the Responsible Self, citizens that work in the city as responsible individuals. And then there are People of the Creative Self, that believe life should be more than just responsible; it should aim for a work of original creation.

But no man is an island; each of us must life in society. That is the point of social animals, that we work together. So what does that mean to each of the Three Peoples?

We humans symbolize this situation with the notion of “gods.“ Our God is the something to which we surrender and bend the knee, and that is what makes us social and connected rather than alone on an island.

The God of the People of the Subordinate Self is the great lord or patron. In return for his Patron’s patronage he must surrender to the power and might of his lord, his political boss, his work supervisor. And the Patron distributes loot and plunder as the mood takes him. I have argued, in my “little darlings“ notion, that in the end the People of the Subordinate Self get left by the roadside, for they are, in effect, the soldiers in the great lord’s army, and when they are no longer useful, the lord will abandon them, as Napoleon abandoned his troops on the retreat from Moscow.

The subordination to a fickle lord or Patron is not an easy life, and so from time to time the peasants arm themselves with their pitchforks and rebel. But they are always too late.

The God of the People of the Responsible Self is the abstract, though personal, God of the Axial Age religions. He is no longer sitting in the middle of the village or on Mt. Olympus playing power games with the human lives under his charge. Now God is retiring from active rule, and setting forth abstract rules for humans to follow. The problem for humans is no longer to submit to the actual power and might of the ruler, but to submit to the abstract rules of the Law. This was incredibly sexist, for it is men that demand to be told the rules, so the new God came out with a girl concept as well. Now the thing to do was to submit to God’s love, for God offered the perfect relationship: love God and God would love you right back. In our latter days, People of the Responsible Self have learned to submit to the market, that remarkable human notion, and offer themselves and the work to the rest of society in return for the hope of reward. Of course, the market also has its girl aspect, as in the long-term relationships between businesses and their customers.

The submission to an abstract God or to the market is a hard and challenging life, for all its rewards. And so the People of the Responsible Self are always tempted to take the easy way and return into the orbit and the protection of some new Patron. But they betray their responsibility when they do.

The God of the People of the Creative Self is the the Creative Self. If the old God was the creator of the universe, or at least in on the design, the modern creative self aims to become as God. The nature and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is not a mystery known only to God, but a Gordian Knot that creative man himself is unraveling and will eventually master. That is why our modern ruling class is full of plans for improvement and bending the arc of history towards justice. Society is, for them, a creative project.

The relation of the Creative Self to society has almost come full circle to the great lord or the Patron god. It is a temptation that few creative people seem able to resist, to sit on Mt. Olympus and order around the humans under their rule as the mood takes them. But I would say that the essence of the creative life is to submit to the verdict of the creative Muse. The fact of a life devoted to creation is that is is a failure: many are called, but few are chosen. Many people aspire to become artists and writers, but few make the grade. Many people start businesses and tech startups, but almost all of them are failures. If it is hard to be a peasant, and harder to stay responsible in the face of setbacks, it is harder still to aspire to creative notability.

You can see that there is a common theme here. A true and faithful person must surrender and submit to his chosen God, and not to do so is to betray your God and become antisocial and corrupted. A Person of the Subordinate Self has surrendered his life to the pleasure of his great lord, and the subsequent cruel fate that awaits him. A Person of the Responsible Self has surrendered himself to obeying God’s laws and the verdict of the market. If it seems hard, well, it is. A Person of the Creative Self must submit to the creative process, and accept that very few people that aspire to works of original creation actually succeed in that Olympian ambition, just as very few aspiring Olympic athletes get to participate in the Olympic Games.

The whole point of this little exercise is, of course, to point out that humanity’s Big Problem right now is the globalist Creative Class and its overweening conceit that it is called, like the peerless Lina Lamont, to bring a little joy to our humdrum little lives, so that all its hard work “ain’t been in vain for nothin’.“

~~  Christopher Chantrill ~~

What Gods Do the “Three Peoples” Believe In

In USA….

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►   Peanut Butter Bandit Hit ‘Trump Rally,‘ Smeared Cars

Disorderly conduct charges are pending against a woman who authorities say smeared peanut butter on 30 vehicles outside a gathering in Amherst, in central Wisconsin, that she mistakenly thought was a Donald Trump rally. WSAW-TV reports that investigators say the Monday night conservation group meeting in Amherst had nothing to do with politics. Authorities say the 32-year-old woman, Christina Ferguson, was drunk when she entered the meeting and began yelling about how she hates Trump, reports the AP. She departed when asked to leave, but authorities say she then used peanut butter to draw phallic symbols and write profanities on vehicles outside. An incident report said the woman’s blood-alcohol content was 0.218, about 2½ times the state’s legal limit for driving. She is free on bond. Amherst is 115 miles north of Madison.

►   Guy’s ‘Joke’ Rant About Yoga Pants Backfires

A Rhode Island man who penned a letter to the editor complaining about women wearing yoga pants says it was meant to be humorous and he doesn’t have an issue with yoga pants. Alan Sorrentino tells WPRO-AM he hoped the letter published in the Barrington Times would be enjoyed as a break from the current political campaign rhetoric. Instead, the letter generated a huge outcry and a group of women say they’ll parade through Sorrentino’s neighborhood Sunday afternoon dressed in yoga pants. “Yoga pants belong in the yoga studio,“ Sorrentino wrote in the letter, via the AP. “What’s next? Wearing a ‘Speedo’ to the supermarket? Imagine if men did that. Yuck!“

Organizers say the march is not a protest against Sorrentino but part of a bigger movement against misogyny and men dictating how women should dress. Sorrentino says the response to his letter was “vicious” and he’s received death threats. He asks marchers to stay away from his home. “I assumed the character of this grumpy old man that was railing about women in yoga pants because he was too tight to just relax and accept himself in his age and his own ways. It was meant to sound stupid and creepy.“

►   Man Gets 1,503 Years for Raping His Daughter

A 41-year-old California man has been handed a 1,503-year sentence for repeatedly raping his teenage daughter over a period of four years, in a stark departure from headlines about convicted rapists getting slaps on the wrist. Rene Lopez drew the longest known sentence handed down in Fresno Superior Court history, reports the Sacramento Bee, after being convicted of 186 counts of felony sexual assault; he showed no remorse, repeatedly blamed his daughter, described her testimony as “hearsay,“ and turned down numerous plea deals that would have afforded him a much more lenient sentence.

The abuse began in May 2009, reports the Bee, when the daughter was assaulted by a family friend and Lopez “chose to turn her into a piece of property and use her to satisfy his sexual needs,“ per the prosecutor. The victim was sexually assaulted by her father two to three times a week for the next four years—he paid for an abortion when she became pregnant—with the abuse only ending when she fled Lopez’s house. “When my father abused me, I was young,“ the victim, now 23, told the court. “I had no power, no voice. I was defenseless.“ Said the prosecutor, “He ruined her teenage years and made her feel like it was her fault.“

►   Woman’s abdominal pain turns into surprise baby

Abdominal pain sent Stephanie Jaegers to the hospital.

She told her husband, Michael, she believed it was due to kidney stones.

When they arrived at the hospital in Stockbridge, Georgia, on Tuesday, doctors asked if she might be pregnant. She said no, and doctors began preparing her for X-rays. But after some observations, doctors changed plans and began preparing her for an ultrasound.

Michael Jaegers tells WXIA-TV doctors told him his wife was pregnant – 38 weeks pregnant to be exact.

He says there are no words to describe being told you’re having a baby – in 30 minutes.

At 3:50 a.m. Wednesday, Shaun Jude Jaegers was born. At 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 19 inches long, he appeared to be very healthy, even without prenatal care.

►   Space Station Takes a Delivery 2 Years in Making

The International Space Station received its first shipment from Virginia in more than two years Sunday, reports the AP, following a sensational nighttime launch observed 250 miles up and down the East Coast. Orbital ATK’s cargo ship pulled up at the space station bearing 5,000 pounds of food, equipment and research. “What a beautiful vehicle,“ said Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi, who used the station’s big robot arm to grab the vessel. The capture occurred as the spacecraft soared 250 miles above Kyrgyzstan; Onishi likened it to the last 195 meters of a marathon. Last Monday’s liftoff from Wallops Island was the first by an Antares rocket since a 2014 launch explosion. Orbital ATK redesigned its Antares rocket and rebuilt the pad. While the Antares was grounded, Virginia-based Orbital ATK kept the NASA supply chain open with deliveries from Cape Canaveral, Fla., using another company’s rocket.

NASA is paying Orbital ATK and SpaceX to stock the station, but now SpaceX is grounded, as it investigates why one of its Falcon rockets exploded in a massive fireball during launch pad testing on September 1. Following liftoff, Orbital ATK’s Cygnus capsule orbited solo for twice the usual amount of time. NASA wanted the Cygnus—named after the swan constellation—to wait for three astronauts to launch from Kazakhstan. They arrived Friday, doubling the size of the crew. Besides Onishi, the crew includes two Americans and three Russians. Helping Onishi with the Cygnus on Sunday morning was NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. Their four-month mission will end next weekend. Once the Cygnus is unloaded, it will be filled with trash and set loose to burn up in the atmosphere in mid-November.

►   Officials Believe Dog Died in House Fire Protecting Toddler

A Washington toddler who died in a house fire was found with his dog and teddy bear next to him, and authorities believe the dog tried to protect the boy, the AP reports. The dog, a terrier mixed breed, also died in the fire that broke out at about 11:30pm Friday in Spokane, fire department spokesperson Brian Schaeffer says. Three other children and two adults escaped from the blaze.

The boy’s dog stayed behind in an attempt to protect him, firefighters believe. The fire was so intense that it melted the metal on the frame of the boy’s bed, Schaeffer says. The battery in the house’s smoke detector had been removed and it was not working, he says. The cause of the fire is under investigation and police are investigating the child’s death.

►   U.S. Has New Nuclear Reactor for 1st Time in 20 Years

The first commercial nuclear reactor of the 21st century—and the first in 20 years—was officially declared complete Wednesday in Tennessee, the AP reports. According to CNN, the Tennessee Valley Authority started work on the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in 1973. The first reactor didn’t open until 1996. The completion of the second reactor this week wraps up a 43-year project. “If you’re in the nuclear business, the sight behind me is a lovely sight,“ TVA president Bill Johnson says. It took nine years and $4.7 billion to build the second reactor, WRCB reports. The project was over budget by billions. A nuclear engineer tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press that finishing the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant was the “most difficult, complex project I’ve ever worked on.“

The new reactor is expected to provide electricity for at least 40 years and generates enough power for 650,000 homes. It’s the 100th commercial reactor in the country. US Senator Lamar Alexander says the reactor “will provide cheap, carbon-free, and reliable electricity.“ Alexander wants another 100 nuclear reactors in the US. But TVA, which now has seven nuclear reactors, says it has no plans to build more after the completion of Watts Bar.

In The World….

The Free Press WV

►   One of Rome’s Busiest Exorcists Tells of Woman Vomiting Pins

Italy is no stranger to exorcisms, with half a million Italians reportedly requesting them each year. The Independent in 2015 reported on an exorcism of an entire town, performed via helicopter. Three years prior, the Catholic diocese of Milan instituted an exorcism hotline, reported the BBC. But in the wake of last month’s death of Rome’s most famous exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, who was 91, demand has outpaced available priests. Amorth’s protege, 79-year-old Father Vincenzo Taraborelli, says he performs as many as 30 exorcisms in his windowless room on any given day (he generally does it three days per week). But he’s having trouble finding successors to help take over because they are “scared” and feel unprepared for a workload like Taraborelli’s, reports the BBC.

Back in 2004, Amorth told the Los Angeles Times that “exorcism is God’s true miracle,“ and that not only was he never afraid of the devil but that, in fact, “I can say he is often scared of me.“ But the ritual that’s basically unchanged since medieval times, which involves driving out evil spirits through prayer and denunciations, is supposed to be a last resort, performed after a psychologist or psychiatrist has ruled out medical issues, the Times reports. Taraborelli confirms that he “urges” such a visit and asks those seeking exorcisms to “bring me their prognosis.“ When warranted and performed, people have vomited anything from metal pins and braids to wood and stones, he claims. “We need other priests like me to meet the needs of so many families,“ he says.

►   Goats guests of honor at Prague rooftop reception

Two goats wander across the roof of Prague’s famous Lucerna Palace - the first beneficiaries of a new push to open up public spaces high above the packed streets of a crowded city.

The animals were guests of honor at the opening of a terrace on the city-centre landmark, whose lower floors hold the Czech Republic’s oldest cinema, a theater, a music venue, restaurants and an ornate shopping arcade.

“I brought the goats ... to have an atmosphere of the farm here, to communicate the idea that roofs should get green,“ said the project’s manager, activist Ondrej Kobza.

“Our goal is to have a community garden here, so that people could raise tomatoes, for example,“ added Kobza, who has rented a 1,000-square meter space on top of the building completed in 1921 by the grandfather of late President Vaclav Havel.

►   Junko Tabei, first woman to climb Everest, dies at 77

Junko Tabei, the first woman to climb Mount Everest, has died, Japanese media reported. She was 77.

Tabei died Thursday of cancer at a hospital outside of Tokyo, according to the reports.

Tabei reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain in 1975. In 1992, she also became the first woman to complete the “Seven Summits,“ reaching the highest peaks of the seven continents.

She gained world fame after Everest, but played it down, telling Sports Illustrated in a 1996 profile: “I was the 36th person to climb Everest.“

Tabei scaled peaks in more than 60 countries, Japan’s Kyodo News agency said.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK said she continued climbing even after being diagnosed with cancer four years ago.

►   Cameroon train crash kills more than 70, injures 600

Authorities in Cameroon rushed more than 600 injured people to hospitals in the country’s two main cities Saturday in an effort to save lives a day after an overcrowded train derailed, killing more than 70 people.

Bodies remained strewn along the tracks as rescue workers searched for more injured or dead. The injured were being taken to hospitals in the capital, Yaounde, and the port city where the train was heading, Douala, officials said, as the president declared Monday to be a national day of mourning.

“My sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the derailment” of the Camrail train,“ President Paul Biya said on his official Facebook page. About 70 people died and 600 were wounded, he said, and the cause of the crash was being investigated.

The local hospital had been overwhelmed, with only about 60 beds, said transport minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo’o.

“I am calling on everyone to double efforts to save the lives of the injured,“ Ngo’o said.

Eseka is about 75 miles west of Yaounde.

Rescue workers and medical staff at hospitals put the death toll at 73, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to speak to the press about the issue. State radio reported more than 75 dead.

The train had been carrying about 1,300 passengers, instead of its capacity of 600. The passenger load was higher because a road had collapsed due to landslides following heavy rains between Yaounde and Douala.

The 30-year-old railway line and train could not carry the load, officials told state radio.

One of those injured died as he arrived in Douala, and “we are doing everything possible to save the lives of the close to 200 victims sent to Douala,“ said Governor Ivaha Diboua Dieudonne of the western Littoral region.

►   Hard crash-landing may have wrecked Europe’s Mars probe

Scientists say Europe’s experimental Mars probe has hit the right spot but may have been destroyed in a fiery ball of rocket fuel because it was traveling too fast.

Pictures taken by a NASA satellite show a black spot where the Schiaparelli lander was meant to touch down Wednesday, the European Space Agency said. The images end days of speculation over the probe’s likely fate following unexpected radio silence less than a minute before the planned landing.

The agency said in a statement that the probe dropped from a height of 1.4 miles to 2.4 miles and struck the surface at a speed exceeding 186 mph, “therefore impacting at a considerable speed.“

It said the large disturbance captured in the NASA photographs may have been caused by the probe’s steep crash-landing, which would have sprayed matter around like a blast site on Earth.

“It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full,“ the agency said.

Schiaparelli was designed to test technology for a more ambitious European Mars landing in 2020. The European Space Agency said the probe’s mother ship was successfully placed into orbit Wednesday and soon will begin analyzing the Martian atmosphere in search for evidence of life.

“In my heart, of course I’m sad that we couldn’t land softly on the surface of Mars,“ agency chief Jan Woerner told The Associated Press. “But the main part of the mission is the science that will be done by the orbiter.“

Woerner said engineers received a wealth of data from the lander before the crash that will prove valuable for the next attempt in four years. He described the mission as “a 96 percent success.“

Still, the crash-landing was a painful reminder of how hard it is to put a spacecraft on the surface of the red planet.

Its resting place was photographed by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter , which also spotted Europe’s last ill-fated mission to the surface of the planet. The Beagle 2 probe landed on Mars in 2003 but failed to deploy its solar panels properly, preventing it from functioning.

There have been only seven successful robotic landings on Mars, all by NASA. The last landing was in 2012, when the Curiosity rover touched down in a crater.

Landing on Mars is notoriously difficult because of the planet’s thin, dusty atmosphere. Inbound spacecraft hit the atmosphere at 12,000 mph and have only minutes to slow down and land.

With the loss of Schiaparelli, only two spacecraft are currently roaming the Martian surface: Curiosity and Opportunity, which landed in 2004.

The European Space Agency said that, according to what its scientists have been able to piece together so far, Schiaparelli suffered problems during the last 50 seconds of its descent through the harsh atmosphere.

The picture taken by NASA’s orbiter shows two features that weren’t visible on the surface when the spacecraft photographed the area in May. The first is a bright spot of about 39 feet in diameter. The agency says that’s likely to be Schiaparelli’s parachute.

The second feature was described as “a fuzzy dark patch roughly 15 by 40 meters in size” north of the parachute. That’s likely to be the lander.

“These preliminary interpretations will be refined following further analysis” and a high-resolution picture in the coming days, the agency said.

While Schiaparelli was able to beam back some 600 megabytes of data before the crash, scientists won’t get any of the close-up photos the probe took during its descent. Those were meant to be transmitted after the landing.

ESA said the other part of the ExoMars mission – the Trace Gas Orbiter – was “working very well and will take science calibration data during two orbits in November.“

The spacecraft then is supposed to descend to an altitude of about 400 kilometers (250 miles) and begin its study of Mars next year. The orbiter will act as a radio relay for the next stage of the ExoMars mission and future attempts to land on the planet.

►   Iraq pushes into town near Mosul after IS assault on Kirkuk

The Iraqi army pushed into a town near the Islamic State-held city of Mosul on Saturday, a day after dozens of IS militants stormed into the northern city of Kirkuk, setting off two days of clashes and killing at least 80 people, mostly security forces.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter meanwhile met with Iraq’s prime minister and commanders in Baghdad to discuss the offensive to retake Mosul, which the U.S. is supporting with airstrikes and advisers on the ground.

The Iraqi army said the 9th Division has pushed into the town of Hamdaniyah, also known as Qaraqosh and Bakhdida, and raised the flag over its government compound, but the troops were likely still facing resistance in and around the town. Similar past announcements have often proved premature.

The town is around 12 miles from Mosul. Iraqi forces launched a wide-scale offensive earlier this week aimed at retaking Mosul, the country’s second largest city, which fell to IS in 2014.

Hamdaniyah is believed to be largely uninhabited. IS has heavily mined the approaches to Mosul, and Iraqi forces have had to contend with roadside bombs, snipers and suicide truck bombs as they move closer to the city.

IS said it foiled an attack on Hamdaniyah and seized vehicles and weapons left by retreating Shiite militiamen. The claim, carried by the extremist group’s Aamaq news agency, could not be confirmed.

An Iraqi television station says one of its reporters was shot dead near Mosul, the second journalist in as many days to be killed while covering the conflict.

Alsumaria TV says cameraman Ali Risan was shot in the chest by a sniper Saturday during a battle in the al-Shura area. Journalist Ahmet Haceroglu of Turkmeneli TV was shot dead by a militant sniper Friday, while covering the IS assault on Kirkuk.

Iraqi forces retook the town of Bartella, around nine miles east of Mosul, earlier this week, but are still facing pockets of resistance in the area.

In Kirkuk, meanwhile, some fighting continued a day after the IS assault on the city, some 100 miles southeast of Mosul. The wave of attacks in and around Kirkuk appeared to be an attempt to divert attention from Mosul.

Brig. Gen. Khattab Omer of the Kirkuk police said at least 80 people were killed in the assault, mainly Kurdish security forces. Another 170 were wounded, he said, adding that a sundown curfew has been imposed on the city.

Omer said Kurdish security forces recovered the bodies of 56 militants who took part in the attack. The Kurds assumed control of Kirkuk in 2014, when the Iraqi army and police crumbled in the face of a lightning IS advance across northern Iraq.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the Kirkuk assault was a terrorist attack and not a military breach.

“Nearly all the terrorists who entered Kirkuk have been eliminated, and we have full control, except for maybe one area where they are being flushed out,“ he said after meeting with Carter.

As the assault on Kirkuk was underway, an airstrike hit a funeral procession in the town of Daquq to the south, killing 17 people, mainly women and children, and wounding another 50, said Daquq Mayor Amir Khodakram. He said it was not clear who carried out the airstrike and that officials have launched an investigation.

The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the strike on the U.S.-led coalition, saying it had “all the signs of a war crime.“ Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman for the ministry, said two jets were involved in the raid, and apparently mistook the procession for a gathering of militants.

The U.S. military in Baghdad could not immediately be reached for comment.

Iraq launched a long-awaited operation on Monday aimed at retaking Mosul, its second largest city, which fell to IS in 2014. It is the largest operation undertaken by Iraqi forces since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and is expected to take weeks, if not months.

Carter’s visit comes two days after a U.S. service member was killed outside Mosul, underscoring the risk that American troops are taking as they advise Iraqi forces in the fight.

More than 4,800 U.S. troops are in Iraq and there are more than 100 U.S. special operations forces operating with Iraqi units. Hundreds more American troops are playing a support role in staging bases farther from the front lines.

Elsewhere in Iraq, a burning sulfur plant south of Mosul that was torched by the Islamic State group is releasing large amounts of noxious gas into the atmosphere, draping towns in the area in toxic smoke.

The air has turned a greyish color as it mixes with smoke from earlier oil well fires set by the militants. The fumes make breathing difficult, with residents saying they are suffering from coughing, headaches and nosebleeds from as far as 18 miles away. A small area hospital has treated some 250 people for breathing difficulties.

Two U.S. military officials said that while the fire was set two days ago, the winds shifted earlier Saturday, sending the smoke south toward Qayara West air field, a staging area for the Mosul offensive. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

They said troops at the base were wearing protective masks because of the breathing concerns, and estimated it could take two to three days to put the fire out.

►   Wonder Woman named a special UN ambassador, despite protests

The United Nations celebrated Wonder Woman’s 75th birthday on Friday by naming the comic book character as its new Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Woman and Girls, despite frustration from both inside and outside the world organization that the spot should go to a real – and less sexualized – woman.

The carefully choreographed ceremony was marred by some 50 U.N. staffers protesting by the visitor’s entrance to the U.N. who then went inside the Economic and Social Council chamber and silently turned their back to the stage during the opening speech, some with their fists in the air.

U.N. staffer Cass Durant, who held a sign saying “Real Women Deserve a Real Ambassador” said the protesters “don’t think that a fictitious comic book characters wearing basically what looks like a Playboy-type bunny outfit is really the right message we need to send to girls or even boys for that matter.“

The super heroine’s image will be used by the U.N. on social media platforms to promote women’s empowerment, including on gender-based violence and the fuller participation of women in public life (using the hashtag WithWonderWoman). The push, hoping to reach young people, is backed by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., which produce both comics and films featuring Wonder Woman.

But an online petition , started by U.N. staffers, asked the Secretary General to reconsider the appointment, saying “The message the United Nations is sending to the world with this appointment is extremely disappointing.“ As of Friday afternoon, it had more than 1,100 signatures.

Honorary ambassadors – as opposed to goodwill ambassadors like Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway – are fictional characters. The U.N. previously tapped Winnie the Pooh to be an honorary Ambassador of Friendship in 1998 and Tinker Bell as the honorary Ambassador of Green in 2009. But the protest on Friday seemed to unnerve many of the U.N.‘s press officers.

The Friday event brought together actress Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman in the 1970s TV series, and Gal Gadot, who has taken on the role in the forthcoming “Wonder Woman” film, as well as Girl Scouts in Wonder Woman T-shirts and U.N. staffers’ kids who skipped school, with one girl wearing a full Wonder Woman costume, complete with head piece. Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, gave a speech in which she argued that stories – even comic book stories – can “inspire, teach and reveal injustices.“

Carter, who gave a moving speech about how Wonder Woman embodies the inner strength of every woman, was the only one to acknowledge the protesters in her remarks, saying “Please embrace her,“ she said. “To all those who don’t think it’s a good idea, stand up and be counted.“

As for Gadot, she said after the event that, “I’m the kind of person who always looks at the half-full glass. I care for the people who care and I’m here for a wonderful cause today.“ She added, through a thin smile: “That’s all what my focus is.“

But among those thinking the glass was half empty was Shazia Z. Rafi, managing director of the consulting firm Global Parliamentary Services. She argued that the choice of Wonder Woman was tone deaf at a time when real women are fighting against sexual exploitation and abuse.

“I think it’s a lot of rubbish that you can appoint a cartoon female to represent gender equality in this day and age, even if it is to reach younger women,“ said Rafi.

Rafi said there were plenty of real heroines that could be the face for gender equality.

The Wonder Woman appointment came after many women were dismayed that another man, Antonio Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal, was chosen to be the next secretary-general, even though more than half the candidates were women.

Rafi, who had campaigned for a woman to be appointed the world’s diplomat-in-chief, said the decision to name Wonder Woman as an ambassador was effort to appease disappointed staffers.

Rafi and the petition also take issue with Wonder Woman’s skimpy outfit, arguing that the world might not embrace a scantily clad character in a thigh-baring body suit with an American flag motif and knee high boots.

It is not the first time the United Nations has partnered with a huge media company. In March, the U.N. appointed Red, the leader of the “Angry Birds” mobile game characters, as an envoy to tackle climate change. That campaign is in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

►   EU chief predicts dire future if EU-Canada trade deal fails

Fearing continued rejection by a small Belgian region, the president of the European Union warned Thursday that if a free trade deal with Canada fails it could mean the end of such agreements with any other countries.

EU President Donald Tusk and the leaders of the 28 EU member countries are pushing hard to persuade Belgium’s francophone Wallonia region to back the so-called CETA deal, which needs unanimity among all EU members.

Belgium, in turn, can only back the deal if it has unanimity among all of its regions.

Wallonia piled on more pressure late Thursday by dismissing the EU’s latest offer, which included concessions on anything from social security to data protection, local news reports from the region said.

Earlier Thursday, Tusk said at the start of a two-day summit where leaders will discuss the issue that “If we are not able to convince people that trade agreements are in their interest… I am afraid, that CETA could be our last free trade agreement.“

To have the deal between over 500 million EU citizens and 35 million Canadians fall apart over the objections of a region of 3.5 million after seven years of talks would undermine the credibility of the EU as a whole, said Tusk.

Many others at the meeting joined in the astonishment that Wallonia could sway such clout in the face of nations like Germany and France.

“Nobody would understand if it were not possible now, after so many efforts,“ an exasperated Martin Schulz, the EU Parliament chief, told the summit leaders.

Even Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel would like to do nothing better than sign on instead of dragging the summit of leaders into the byzantine subtleties of Belgium’s constitutional setup between its Dutch, French, and German-speaking language groups.

Michel said he needed Wallonia’s backing. “I have a lot of respect for the role of our parliaments and democracy. But democracy means that at one moment you need a decision.“

Trade will be on the summit’s agenda on Friday, and talks to convince Wallonia should be concluded by then, the leaders hope. The official signing ceremony of the deal is set for October 27 when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is supposed to attend an EU-Canada summit. Without the deal ready for signature, it will be canceled.

Wallonia wants more guarantees to protect its farmers and Europe’s high labor, environmental and consumer standards. It also fears the agreement will allow huge multinationals — first from Canada, later from the United States, if a similar deal with Washington follows — that would crush small Walloon enterprises and their way of life.

Proponents say the deal would yield billions in added trade through tariff cuts and other measures to lower barriers to commerce. At the same time, the EU says it will keep in place the region’s strong safeguards on social, environmental and labor issues.

►   Most Syrian refugees arriving in US are kids; schools adapt

Seated at his desk at a suburban San Diego middle school, 12-year-old Abdulhamid Ashehneh tries not to let his mind wander to the painful memories of his life in civil war-torn Syria.

His father disappeared suddenly four years ago and, the family believes, was killed. Months later, Abdulhamid’s mother boarded a bus with her six children, the youngest 2, and fled to Jordan, the sound of bombs ringing in the distance.

“I think about my Dad a lot,“ Abdulhamid said recently after practicing English at Cajon Valley Middle School, which has received an influx of Syrian children. “I wish he would come back.“

Abdulhamid is like many of the Syrian refugees arriving today in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of the more than 11,000 Syrian arrivals over the past year were children, according to the U.S. State Department.

That’s a larger percentage than some refugee groups, in part because Syrians tend to have larger families and many have managed to stay together despite displacement, according to resettlement agencies helping the families acclimate to the U.S.

Many of those children are enrolling in public schools around the country, including Chicago; Austin, Texas; New Haven, Connecticut; and El Cajon, which received 76 new Syrian students the first week of school.

Syrian children face many of the same challenges as other young refugees — limited English, an interrupted education — but they are somewhat distinct in the level of trauma they have experienced, school leaders and resettlement workers said.

“The truth is, a lot of them have seen some pretty nasty stuff,“ said Eyal Bergman, a family and community engagement officer for the Cajon Valley Union School District. “But I also see incredible resilience.“

In response to the influx, school districts are beefing up English instruction and making extra efforts to reach out to parents unfamiliar with the U.S. school system. In El Cajon, one-on-one orientations introduce families to the school’s teachers and staff and show them basics like how to read the district’s academic-year calendar.

Some refugee students are enrolled in “newcomer” classes where they are provided intense English instruction before being placed in mainstream classrooms. Others go directly into classes with English-fluent peers but are assigned to smaller groups for individual instruction. Teachers are trained in identifying trauma, and on-site counselors help students who need extra attention.

“I’ve had students tell me that maybe some of their family members passed away,“ said Juanita Chavez, a second-grade teacher. “But I think a lot of them just want to focus on here, on learning. A lot of them don’t focus on the negative things that have happened to them.“

At night, Arabic-speaking staff and teachers hold a “parent academy” where newly arrived moms and dads are given bilingual children’s books in English and Arabic and guided on how to help improve literacy at home.

The rising number of Syrian refugee students comes amid a heated presidential campaign. During the second debate, Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton’s plan to expand the Obama administration’s refugee program and accept 65,000 Syrian refugees the “great Trojan horse of all time.“

Last November, in response to the deadly Paris attack believed carried out by operatives who fought and trained in Syria, nearly 30 states vowed to deny entry to Syrian refugees.

Resettlement agencies and school staff worry inflamed rhetoric about Muslims and Syrian refugees will trickle into the classroom. A report last year by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations found 50 percent of Muslim students surveyed were subjected to mean comments or rumors because of their religion.

“This is a concern of ours, to be watching that they do not feel shunned or stigmatized because of their national origin,“ said Ellen Beattie, a senior director with the International Rescue Committee.

El Cajon, a city of roughly 104,000 people 15 miles east of San Diego, has become a melting pot of refugees from Uganda to Afghanistan. The first Middle Eastern immigrants were Chaldean Christians fleeing persecution in Iraq in the 1970s. Those earlier, now established waves of migrants are playing a role in helping settle the new arrivals from Syria.

“Most of them tell us the only reason they accepted the whole immigration process is really for their kids,“ said Anas Kayal, who emigrated to the U.S. from Syria in 2001 and is a physician in San Diego. “They are OK with their own lives being disrupted by the war and crisis, but they are hoping their kids can have a better life.“

Watching her children learn English and adapt to U.S. schools has been redeeming for Abdulhamid’s mother after two years in Jordan, where she often struggled to feed them and at one point lived in a feeble tent that would blow apart in the wind.

“We’re still trying to cope with this emotionally,“ said Amena Alshehneh, 37. “But it’s the reality. We have to face the reality and get on our feet.“

As Abdulhamid assimilates, he still pines for his homeland and the life he left behind.

He remembers the Damascus home where he wrestled and practiced reading with his father. He remembers playing soccer and hide-and-seek with his best friend, and wonders what happened to him.

He also thinks about his computer and a remote-control car — cherished toys his father gave him and that he had to abandon.

“I feel so sad I left Syria,“ said Abdulhamid, whose expression quickly shifts from joy to grief. “Because it’s my country. My home.“

2016: Area High School Football Scoreboard: Week 9

The Gilmer Free Press

Area High School Football Scoreboard
Week 9 Games
#7 Gilmer County (8-0) 55 #4 Tolsia (6-1) 8
Hannan (1-7) 6 Braxton County (3-5) 0
Webster County (5-3) 16 Lewis County (4-5) 15
Calhoun County (1-8) 0 Elkins (4-4) 27
Ritchie County (0-9) 14 Doddridge County (5-4) 28
#15 Liberty Harrison (6-3) 42 Valley (Wetzel) (1-7) 6
#13 Herbert Hoover (6-2) 25 Parkersburg Catholic (3-5) 12
#16 Roane County (5-3) 13 #11 Williamstown (7-2) 41
#1 Bridgeport (9-0) 24 #5 St. Marys (8-0) 47
#10 Keyser (5-3) 13 #3 South Harrison (7-1) 6
Robert C. Byrd (4-5) 40 #8 Van (6-2) 26
#9 North Marion (5-3) 30 #6 Cameron (8-0) 28
#11 Lincoln (6-2) 33 #7 Nicholas County (7-1) 22
Grafton (3-5) 6 Midland Trail (4-5) 0
Bishop Donahue (6-2) 30 Tyler Consolidated (5-3) 20
Paden City (2-7) 2 Magnolia (1-8) 7
Brooke (1-8) 7 Richwood (0-7)  
Buckhannon-Upshur (3-4) 28 Valley (Fayette) (0-7)  
East Fairmont (3-5) 14 Clay County (3-5) 18
Phillip Barbour (0-8) 0 Shady Spring (2-7) 6
Parkersburg South (4-4) 30 Warren Local, OH 26
Greenbrier East (3-5) 16 Parkersburg (3-5) 55

“When & Where to Visit” for Fall Color This Weekend

The Free Press WV

Best spots to visit currently include Babcock and Watoga state parks; the Summersville area, including the overlook at Summersville Lake; Cranberry Glades; and Williams River. Areas of elevation ranging between 2,000 and 3,500 feet have the most color. Areas over that elevation are losing leaves quickly.

Things to see and do
This weekend, take advantage of the mild October weather and go for a leisurely stroll on the Sunrise Carriage Trail for FestivALL Fall’s Leaf Walk, featuring artists and live music along the way. In downtown Berkeley Springs, nationally and regionally known artists open their studios to the public to show how they create their own unique artwork. And master fiddlers from across the Mountain State converge in Elkins for the Augusta Heritage Center’s Annual Fiddlers’ Reunion, part of Augusta’s October Old-Time Week. For a list of upcoming events this fall, visit

Tourism Industry Projects To Receive $1.2 Million In Matching Funds To Attract Visitors To The State

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Tourism Industry projects totaling $2.4 million have been approved by the West Virginia Tourism Commission to receive $1.2 million in matching funds through the Matching Advertising Partnership Program (MAPP).

MAPP allows state tourism businesses to match their advertising dollars through partnerships with other tourism businesses and the state. Matches are based on the combined budgets of the applicants and their partners, as well as the amount of available funding. The matching funds support efforts to promote wild, wonderful destinations throughout West Virginia, increasing the number of visitors and travel expenditures to the Mountain State.

Approved requests representing tourism projects from across the state include:

Country Road Cabins
Applicant funding requirement:  $28,050.00; state match:  $28,050.00

The “WV Cabins and Getaways 2017” project is a cooperative venture with five recreation/amenities and accommodations businesses in Fayette County to attract outdoor travel enthusiasts from a 13-state marketing area.  The project will utilize print and Internet media, along with Consumer/Trade shows to promote West Virginia as a multi-day destination featuring deluxe cabin lodging, world-class outdoor adventure tour opportunities, and the finest amenities in the area.

Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad
Applicant funding requirement:  $50,475.00; state match:  $50,475.00

The main goal of this project is to promote scenic MountainRail Adventures and the region as not only a day-trip getaway, but a weekend destination for families, couples, and retirees with many different adventure packages, special events, holiday trains and multiple destinations.  The campaign will utilize print and online media as well as trade and consumer shows, to focus on metropolitan and regional areas within a 250-mile radius.

Fayette County Education Fund
Applicant funding requirement:  $2,372.50; state match: $7,117.50

The New River Birding and Nature Festival project is designed to promote West Virginia as a birding destination and boost shoulder season business for the area’s tourism industry.  The Festival is recognized around the world as a model event, and utilizes print and online ads as well as e-blasts with Bird Watchers’ Digest.  The festival continues to attract visitors from across the U.S. and the globe.

New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau
Applicant funding requirement: $13,950.94; state match:  $13,950.94

The “Adventure & Awe.  Where’s George in the New River Gorge?” project is designed to increase visitation and overnight stays of millennials and young families by utilizing unique characters to enhance visitor experience.   The project will support the New River Gorge brand through print media with digital components and tie into the CVB’s brochure and social ad campaign.

New Winterplace, LLC dba Fayette-Mercer-Raleigh County Winter Coalition
Applicant funding requirement: $173,234.00; state match: $173,234.00

Winterplace Ski Resort and its lodging partners have teamed up to increase recreational snow sports awareness among individuals, families and groups for an affordable, easily accessible, multi-day, ski vacation through the winter months.  The project utilizes digital display and retargeting advertising, as well as direct mail and print media primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region.

PNGI Charles Town Gaming dba Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
Applicant funding requirement:  $175,000.00; state match: $175,000.00

As a portion of their overall marketing plan, Hollywood Casino’s “Competitive Defense Project” utilizes highly-targeted print media in DC, Maryland and Virginia as well as direct mail, to promote numerous regional tourism activities and attractions including gaming, entertainment, dining, lodging, recreation, tours and festivals.

Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Applicant funding requirement:  $57,290.00; state match: $57,290.00

Pocahontas County CVB’s “Vacation Connection 2” project is focused on re-imagining the traditional family vacation in order to promote return visits to the county, including, senior getaways, creative vacations designed to live like local residents, and multi-generational travel through print, broadcast, Internet media, and outdoor advertising in target markets throughout the region.

Racing Corporation of WV dba Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
Applicant funding requirement:  $175,000.00; state match: $175,000.00

Mardi Gras Casino and Resort has teamed up with six area partners for the “Find Your Party” campaign.  The project utilizes broadcast media, billboards, and Internet advertising to increase awareness of the destination to both in-state and out-of-state visitors as well as encouraging return visits from existing customers.

Snowshoe Mountain
Applicant funding requirement:  $175,000.00; state match: $175,000.00

The “Mountain Rules” campaign positions Snowshoe as the ultimate winter destination to increase skier visits and room nights.  The project also promotes an all-season mountain playground with world-class mountain biking and amazing summer events and activities for the whole family.  Media includes focused print advertising with an emphasis on digital and performance-based media to promote compelling offers, including best “book by” deals on lodging, packaged lift tickets, and pre-season pass specials.

Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau
Applicant funding requirement: $47,799.50; state match: $47,799.50

The “Marketing the Top of West Virginia” campaign combines forces with the CVB and area partners to increase tourism as a key element in the economy of Brooke and Hancock counties.  The project utilizes regional print, broadcast, Internet and outdoor advertising to promote entertainment and area attractions.

Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Applicant funding requirement:  $123,116.00; state match:  $123,116.00

The “Get Tucker’d” campaign is designed to promote multiple attractions and municipalities in the Tucker County area.  The project targets states within a 3 to 5 hour drive including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and DC to increase overnight visitation and revenue, utilizing primarily Internet media along with print, direct mail, and electronic billboards in Metro DC.

Upshur County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Applicant funding requirement: $2,438.75; state match:  $7,316.25

The “Stay the Weekend 2017” project encourages visitors to enjoy a long weekend in a classic, small town area with an energized atmosphere.   As most travel plans are researched online, the project focuses heavily on Internet advertising, enabling the CVB to customize advertising messages for festivals and events, while also promoting dining and shopping in the Downtown Buckhannon Historic District.

Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack
Applicant funding requirement:  $175,000.00; state match:  $175,000.00

Wheeling Island’s “New Member and Player Retention Project” utilizes targeted print, broadcast, and digital media along with direct mail to reach new and existing casino guests in order to generate increased revenue and awareness of casino amenities, monthly promotions, concerts and new member offers.

Woodlands Amenities, LLC dba The Cabins at Pine Haven
Applicant funding requirement: $2,500.00; state match:  $7,500.00

The “West Virginia Outdoor Adventure Vacation Packages” project targets visitors within a five-hour/300 mile radius through Internet media to book exciting outdoor adventure vacations including luxury cabin or treehouse accommodations with just one click or call.

Is It Illegal to Read Wikileaks? The Answer Is NO

The Free Press WV

Chris Cuomo seems to be following his big brother’s lead when it comes to the First Amendment. 

On CNN, Cuomo said:

“Also interesting is, remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents,” Cuomo says. “It’s different for the media, so everything you’re learning about this, you’re learning from us.”

Mr. Cuomo… I don’t say this lightly…. but YOU EAT AT THE OLIVE GARDEN!  (I just can’t think of a worse insult to lob at an Italian.  But yes, I went there.) 

I’m not sure if he’s confused, lying, or just mis-spoke.  But, lets just make sure that no matter what his motivation, you, my dear readers, understand that a) it isn’t true, and b) don’t eat at the Olive Garden.  Lets just skip point B for the sake of brevity. 

Lets do this with feeling… ready?  Repeat after me: 

  1. It is not illegal for you to read Wikileaks.
  2. It is not illegal for you to download documents from Wikileaks.
  3. You do not need to rely on “the media” to spoon feed you the documents from Wikileaks.
  4. The Olive Garden is not Italian food.

Cuomo might be confused because of a couple little things.

In 2001, the Supreme Court held in Bartnicki v. Vopper ,532 U.S. 514 (2001) that the press has a right to report on materials that might have been created or gathered illegally – as long as the media outlet took no part in the illegal activity.  In that case, a radio reporter got ahold of the tape of an illegally recorded phone call.  Since it was a matter of public concern, the press had a right to use it.  So, the Wikileaks documents may have been illegally obtained in the first place, but once the genie is out of the bottle, you can’t put it back in.  The press can report on it. 

Of course, in 2001, the lines between “you” and “the media” weren’t so blurred.  And, I could see Mr. Cuomo thinking that since Bartnicki addresses the press, that this somehow excludes the rabble from that same privilege.  However, the press doesn’t actually get any special privileges here, just because Bartnicki did not address you downloading these documents to your hard drive.  In fact, it wouldn’t make too much sense for it to be legal for CNN to report on the documents, and to publish them, but you could then be prosecuted – unless you can show that you downloaded them from CNN. 

Now maybe Cuomo was also confused by a 2010 memo where government employees were warned that they couldn’t access leaked classified documents.  Yeah, that might be true.  If you work for the government, it can probably impose some limits on what you can possess when it comes to leaked classified material.  Even if they can’t prosecute an employee, they could certainly condition continued employment or continued security clearance on you being a good little doggie.  And, perhaps if you’re seeking employment with the federal government, you might not want to say “yeah, I did” if they ask if you ever read the Wikileaks releases. 

Now what about “receiving stolen property?“  Someone steals a car.  They drop it off in front of my house with the keys in the ignition and a note that says “a gift from a friend.“  That doesn’t mean I can hope in and go for a spin.  But, laws governing receipt of stolen property are a bit hard to apply to documents and information.  Further, even if some prosecutor wanted to prosecute you for it, they’d be hard pressed to get anywhere with that when it comes to information that is a matter of public concern — like this information. 

And then, you get back to the question of “who is ‘the media’?“  How do we really draw a distinction there?  Luckily, we don’t have to.  The Same Bartnicki case that we discussed before makes it clear that we “draw no distinction between the media respondents and” a non-institutional respondent.“  But, this was hardly revolutionary.  See, e.g., Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 U.S. 663 (1991) (press gets no special privileges when it comes to laws governing communication); Henry v. Collins, 380 U.S. 356, 357 (1965) (applying New York Times v. Sullivan to non-media defendant); Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 64, 67–68 (1964) (same).

So go ahead.  Read those documents.  Talk about them.  Publish them on your blog or your Facebook feed.  And do that no matter who is in office.  It isn’t just your right, but it is your patriotic duty. 

Ask not what you can do for your country; demand to know what your country has been doing to you.

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