www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2017, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: February 20, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT01/302209986 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT01/302209986 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Adkins, Stephen 1 p.m., Hopkins Fork Community Church, Seth.

Auxier, Mary 1 p.m., Pennington Funeral Home, Gauley Bridge.

Bland Volkers, Betti

Dent, Charles 11 a.m., Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans.

Gibson, James 1 p.m., Cunningham

Hill, Betty "Louise" 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Hill, Tina 3 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Huffman, Judy 2 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Meador, Scott 5 p.m., Bollinger Funeral Home, Charleston.

Neely, Agnes 1 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.

Nuckols, Don 1 p.m., Family Worship Center, Beckley.

Perdue, Freddie 1 p.m., Hughes Creek Community Church, Cedar Grove.

Phillips, John 12:30 p.m., Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Charleston.

Portee, Mark 1 p.m., United Missionary Baptist Church, Mt. Hope.

Ritchie, Loran 11 a.m., St. Lukes United Methodist Church, Craigsville.

Tuttle, Margaret 1 p.m., Stevens and Grass Funeral Home, Malden.

Watson, Clyde Noon, Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.

White, Ernest "Michael" 1 p.m., Dunbar Church of Christ, Dunbar.

Joe F. Burdett III http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209987 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209987 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Joe F. Burdett III, 69, of Charleston, passed away unexpectedly at home on February 17, 2017.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Joe F. Burdett II and Virginia S. Burdett, and his sister, Beverly Cartwright.

Joe was a 1965 graduate from Charleston High School and 1970 graduate of Marshall University. Joe worked for 36 years throughout the area as an industrial cleaning supply salesman for Johnson Diversey. Joe knew no strangers and was loved for his quick wit and his off the cuff contagious humor. Most recently, he was employed by Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Deborah; daughter, Carissa McBurney, and son-in-law, James; beloved grandson, Elijah, and expected grandson, Easton; twin brother, Jack Burdett; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be at noon, Wednesday, February 22, at Morris Memorial United Methodist Church, 4615 MacCorkle Avenue, Charleston. Burial will follow at Spring Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, February 21, at Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston, and one hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association, PO Box 15120, Chicago, IL 60693, or Marshall University, 519 John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25703.

You may send condolences to the family at www.barlowbonsall.com.

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted to handle the arrangements.

Reva Cundiff http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209993 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209993 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Reva Jane Cundiff (Amos), 91, passed away Thursday, February 16, 2017. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, February 21, at Stump Funeral Home, Grantsville. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Stump Funeral Homes is honored to assist the Cundiff family.

Rodney Davis http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209998 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209998 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Rodney Philip Davis, 61, of Nitro, passed away on February 17, 2017, from a short illness.

Owner of Davis Heating & Cooling, Rod was an active and beloved member of the community. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and amazing husband, father, and grandfather. Most importantly, he was a preacher of God's grace and love, and active missionary to the country of Belize.

Rod was preceded in death by his parents, Gordon and Mickey Davis.

Rod is survived by his wife, and sweetheart of 29 years, Julie Davis of Nitro; children, Cathy Marcum (Jeff) of Boone, N.C., Adam Davis (Damaris) of Mebane, N.C., and Michael Davis of Huntington; grandchildren, Drew, Madelyn, and Nathaniel; brother, Paul (Nola) of Winchester, Va.; and sister, Sandy (Harry) of Chesapeake, Va.; and several nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.

Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, February 21, at Barlow-Bonsall Funeral Home of 1118 Virginia Street East, Charleston, WV 25301 with Pastors Mike Ramsey and Kevin West officiating. Burial will follow at Marmet Cemetery, Marmet. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, February 20, at the funeral home.

If preferred, donations may be made to Bridge of Faith Fellowship in Nitro to continue Rod's missions work in Belize.

You may send condolences to the family at: www.barlowbonsall.com.

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted to handle the arrangements.

Bruce Deal http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209994 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/OBIT/302209994 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Bruce Lee Deal, 38, of Evans, passed away Thursday, February 16, 2017. Service will be 11 a.m., Friday, February 24, at the Casto Funeral Home Chapel, Ravenswood. Visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m., Thursday, February 23, at Casto Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

WV House passes bill requiring reports on fundraisers during 60-day session http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0101/170229982 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0101/170229982 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:10:03 -0500 Eric Eyre By Eric Eyre The West Virginia House of Delegates approved a bill Monday that's designed to discourage lawmakers from holding campaign fundraisers during the legislative session.

House members voted 98-0 to approve HB2319, which would require lawmakers to disclose fundraising events held during the session - and the amount of campaign money collected at those events -- within five days.

"Basically, this is intended to shed light, to give disclosure, to make transparency during the time we're up here doing the people's business," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer.

Lawmakers often raise more money at fundraisers during the 60-day legislative session because lobbyists, special interest groups and other politicians are in Charleston at the time.

The legislation stops short of banning fundraisers during legislative sessions.

The disclosure requirements do not extend to the Legislature's interim meetings and special sessions. Lawmakers also don't have to immediately disclose individual donor contributions during the legislative session - only campaign cash received at fundraising events.

The House passed a similar campaign disclosure bill last year, but the legislation died on the last night of the session after the House declined to accept the Senate's last-minute changes.

Last year's initial bill also required statewide elected officials - the governor, treasurer, state auditor, attorney general and secretary of state - to report fundraisers, along with state legislators.

Many lobbyists have complained that they feel pressured to attend fundraisers during the legislative session.

Under this year's bill, the Secretary of State must publish the lawmakers' fundraising disclosures on its website within 48 hours of receiving reports of the campaign events.

The bill next moves to the Senate.

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4869 or follow @ericeyre on Twitter.

WVU men's basketball falls back out of AP top 10 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0201/170229984 GZ0201 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0201/170229984 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:11:35 -0500 Staff report By Staff report The West Virginia University men's basketball team slipped back out of the Associated Press sports writers top 10 once again. The latest poll was released Monday afternoon.

After climbing back into that top 10 at No. 9 last week, WVU (21-6) fell to No. 12 following the Mountaineers' overtime loss at Kansas and double-overtime win against Texas Tech at the Coliseum. Gonzaga remained at No. 1, while Villanova was No. 2 and Kansas was at No. 3. Baylor fell from fourth to ninth.

The USA Today coaches top 25 will be released later Monday. The Mountaineers host Texas at 9 p.m. Monday.

Trump asked people to 'look at what's happening ... in Sweden.' Here's what's happening there. http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0101/170229985 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0101/170229985 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:57:04 -0500 By RICK NOACK The Washington Post By By RICK NOACK The Washington Post President Donald Trump caused confusion during a Saturday rally in Florida when he said: "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?" Trump then mentioned the French cities of Nice and Paris and the Belgian capital, Brussels. The three European cities were all attacked by terrorists over the past two years.

Although Trump did not explicitly say it, his remarks were widely perceived in the United States and abroad as suggesting that an attack had occurred Friday night in Sweden.

Trump himself attempted to clarify the remarks, tweeting on Sunday: "My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden."

On Monday, Trump elaborated a bit with another tweet:

"Give the public a break - The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!"

Trump was likely referring to an interview with filmmaker Ami Horowitz on Fox's "Tucker Carlson Tonight," which started circulating on social media shortly after Trump's speech in Florida. Horowitz has blamed refugees for what he says is a crime wave in Sweden. The filmmaker's claims have since come under scrutiny, as Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported Monday. Two Swedish police officers who were interviewed by Horowitz said that their comments had been taken out of context. One of them, Anders Göranzon, accused the filmmaker of being a "madman."

Such claims by Horowitz have driven up Google search traffic for information on Swedish crime statistics in recent weeks. In fact, interest in the issue has never been higher over the last four years.

Trump's references to Sweden seemed to suggest that the country's welcoming approach to refugees and its alleged effects on crime rates should be a warning sign. But were the president's remarks justified?

"Absolutely not," said Felipe Estrada Dörner, a criminology professor at Stockholm University. His response was echoed by multiple other experts on Monday who are familiar with Swedish crime statistics.

Overall, Sweden's average crime rate has fallen in recent years, according to Dörner. That drop has been observed for cases of lethal violence and for sexual assaults, two of the most serious categories of crime.

Moreover, an analysis by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, conducted between October 2015 and January 2016, came to the conclusion that refugees were responsible for only one percent of all incidents. Researchers caution, however, that segregation and long-term unemployment of refugees could have a negative impact on crime rates in Sweden in the future.

The other European country that took in similar numbers of refugees per capita in 2015, Germany, has also refuted claims that the influx led to an increase in crimes. "Immigrants are not more criminal than Germans," an interior ministry spokesman said in June. Overall, crime levels in Germany declined over the first quarter of 2016, officials said last year.

Nevertheless, skepticism has persisted in Germany, Sweden and elsewhere. A Pew Research study conducted in early 2016 indicated that 46 percent of Swedes believed that "refugees in our country are more to blame for crime than other groups."

Reports about alleged police coverups of refugee crimes might have contributed to distrust in official statistics. Criminologists also say that a handful of cases have received disproportionate public attention, creating a distorted perception among Swedes.

"What we're hearing is a very, very extreme exaggeration based on a few isolated events," Jerzy Sarnecki, a criminologist at Stockholm University, told the Globe and Mail newspaper last May, when coverage of refugee-related crimes reached a peak.

There is one statistic in which Sweden does indeed lead international crime statistics, though: reported cases of rape. When three men raped a woman on Facebook Live, the incident made headlines worldwide. But criminologists say refugees are not the reason Sweden has such an extraordinarily high number of rape cases.

"The (definitions) of rape differ between countries," said Dörner. "In Sweden several changes in legislation have been made to include more cases of sexual crimes as rape cases." Sweden's definition of what constitutes rape is now one of the world's most expansive. Varying figures, as well as other Swedish measures to facilitate rape complaints, might have affected statistics, as well.

Swedish crime experts also do not agree that immigrants have created so-called no-go areas inside Sweden - areas that allegedly are too dangerous for native Swedes to enter and are effectively run by criminals. "This perception is fabricated," said Dörner. But he and others also pointed out that the refugee influx poses challenges to Sweden, just not in the way it is being portrayed by some.

"Even [though] there are no 'no-go zones' as alleged in the propaganda, there are problems around crimes and disturbances in several suburbs of Swedish cities, where immigrant groups tend to be overrepresented," said Henrik Selin, a senior researcher at the Swedish Institute.

"Sweden definitely, like other countries, (faces) challenges when it comes to integration of immigrants into Swedish society, with lower levels of employment, tendencies of exclusion, and also crimes related problems," said Selin. So far, there is little evidence, however, that Sweden has turned into the lawless country it is at times being described as abroad.

Former Derby, Preakness winner Charismatic dies http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0210/170229986 GZ0210 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0210/170229986 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 11:54:44 -0500 By Bruce Schreiner and Gary B. Graves The Associated Press By By Bruce Schreiner and Gary B. Graves The Associated Press LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Former Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Charismatic, whose bid for the Triple Crown ended with a dramatic leg injury as he neared the finish line in the Belmont Stakes, has died at a thoroughbred retirement farm in Kentucky.

The striking chestnut horse that won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 1999 was found dead in his stall Sunday at Old Friends farm near Georgetown, Kentucky, the farm said.

"Right now, everyone is pretty much inconsolable," Old Friends President Michael Blowen said. "He was a really tough horse and he deserved a much longer retirement. ... Everyone at Old Friends takes solace from the few great months that this great champion gave us."

The stallion ate all his food Saturday and looked fine, Blowen said Monday. The cause of death is unknown and a full necropsy was being done. The farm said Charismatic was 21.

Charismatic arrived at Old Friends last December after a long stud career in Japan. He quickly became a favorite among the farm's visitors in central Kentucky.

"He connected with people that would come here and tell us stories about what that horse meant to them when he won the Kentucky Derby, and then when he broke his leg in the Belmont," Blowen said. "He was just a touchstone for people's own personal history with horse racing that very few horses could match."

The unheralded Charismatic ran in claiming races, then emerged unexpectedly as the best of the 3-year-old crop in 1999.

After winning the Lexington Stakes, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt won the Derby as a longshot. Charismatic followed up by winning the Preakness.

Lukas recalled Charismatic's success that spring as the perfect example of a late bloomer.

"He seemed uninterested in being a race horse when I first started him," Lukas said by phone. "In fact, he didn't turn the corner until March of his 3-year-old season. But once he got going, he stayed gone."

At the Belmont, Charismatic led with an eighth of a mile to go, but took a bad step and fractured his left foreleg as Lemon Drop Kid swept by to win. Charismatic finished third.

Doctors said the fracture could have proved fatal had the bone broken the skin. They praised jockey Chris Antley for dismounting quickly and lifting Charismatic's injured leg to take weight off it.

"Fortunately, we had the right people there and he healed properly," Lukas said. "He was OK after that."

The horse underwent surgery and won Horse of the Year honors. He retired from racing with five wins in 17 starts with career earnings exceeding $2 million before starting his stud career in 2000, Old Friends said.

Old Friends is home to two other horses that nearly won the Triple Crown - 1997 Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm and 2002 Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem. The farm also offers a leisurely retirement for many also-rans on its rolling pastures in central Kentucky.

Trump supporters see a successful president - and are frustrated with critics who don't http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0101/170229987 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0101/170229987 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 09:44:03 -0500 By JENNA JOHNSON and DAVID WEIGEL The Washington Post By By JENNA JOHNSON and DAVID WEIGEL The Washington Post MELBOURNE, Fla. - Many of President Donald Trump's most dedicated supporters - the sort who waited for hours in the Florida sun this weekend for his first post-inauguration campaign rally - say their lives changed on election night. Suddenly they felt like their views were actually respected and in the majority.

But less than one month into Trump's term, many of his supporters say they once again feel under attack - perhaps even more so than before.

Those who journeyed to Trump's Saturday evening event on Florida's Space Coast said that since the election, they have unfriended some of their liberal relatives or friends on Facebook. They don't understand why major media outlets don't see the same successful administration they have been cheering on. And they're increasingly frustrated that Democrats - and some Republicans - are too slow to approve some of the president's nominees and too quick to protest his every utterance.

"They're stonewalling everything that he's doing because they're just being babies about it," said Patricia Melani, 56, a Jersey native who now lives here and attended her third Trump rally on Saturday. "All the loud mouths? They need to let it go. Let it go. Shut their mouths and let the man do what he's got to do. We all shut our mouths when Obama got in the second time around, OK? So that's what really needs to be done."

She blames the media for circulating "fake" stories about the president - like when she believed he was "very cool, wasn't yelling" at a Thursday press conference, yet a CNN anchor described his behavior as "unhinged."

"There's such hatred for the man," she said. "I just don't get it."

It was a common sentiment at the rally in an airplane hangar here, flanked by Air Force One and attended by about 9,000 people. There were chants of "CNN sucks!" and "Tell the truth!" A pre-rally speaker gleefully announced that the president had given the media "a spanking."

Rally attendees panned coverage of the chaos within his administration, the cost of security for his family and the president's now-halted executive order that briefly banned refugees and residents of seven Muslim-majority countries. Many acknowledged that the president's first month could have been smoother, especially with the roll-out of the travel ban, but they said the media has overblown those hiccups - and they're glad to see the president fight back and label the media on Twitter Friday as "the enemy of the American People!"

"It was hilarious to see him give it to the media," said Tony Lopez, 28, a car dealer who drove to the rally from Orlando. "The media's problem is that they keep wanting to make up stories so that he looks bad. It doesn't work. He's talking right through you guys."

Several people said they would have liked to see more coverage of a measure that Trump signed on Thursday that rolled back a last-minute Obama regulation that would have restricted coal mines from dumping debris in nearby streams. At the signing, Trump was joined by coal miners in hard hats.

"If he hadn't gotten into office, 70,000 miners would have been put out of work," Patricia Nana, a 42-year old naturalized citizen from Cameroon. "I saw the ceremony where he signed that bill, giving them their jobs back, and he had miners with their hard hats and everything - you could see how happy they were."

The regulation actually would have cost relatively few mining jobs and would have created nearly as many new jobs on the regulatory side, according to a government report - an example of the frequent distance between Trump's rhetoric, which many of his supporters wholeheartedly believe, and verifiable facts.

Melani, for example, gets most of her news from talk radio - "I listen to Herman Cain on my way into work, I have Sean [Hannity] on my way home," she says - and Fox News.

She and her husband were well-versed on hold-ups with the president's Cabinet nominees and legal arguments for the now-frozen travel ban. But they didn't know much about the resignation of Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn on Monday amid accusations that he improperly discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador - and then withheld that information from Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials.

"See, don't question me on that because I haven't really been watching and listening too much on it," Melani said. "I think he kind of did it just to step away, a trust kind of a thing. And now, of course, they want to pull a big investigation and all of this stuff. And to be honest with you, I really think it's only because of the way the haters are out there. That's what I really think it is."

The division that has consumed the country was on display outside Trump's rally.

On one side of the street: Thousands of his supporters wearing campaign gear and vendors selling anti-Hillary Clinton merchandise and T-shirts showing a map of the 2016 election by county, with most of the country colored Trump-red and the legend: "We the Deplorable."

On the other side of the street: Hundreds of protesters gathered in a "free speech zone" behind orange mesh fencing. Several wore pink knit hats, and some carried signs that focused on Trump's alleged connections to Russia: "Impeach that puppet" and "I can see Russia."

Robert Welsh, a 63-year old vice mayor from Miami Beach, carried a speaker blasting the Beatles song "Back in the U.S.S.R," and a sign that portrayed Russian President Vladimir Putin thanking Trump for his service.

Insults hurled back and forth across the street, as did accusations that the other side was fabricating information. Both sides accused the other of being hateful and of being paid to be there, which both sides denied.

On the protest side was Rosemary Menneto - a 53-year-old from Satellite Beach - who said several of her friends skipped the rally for fear there might be violence.

"There's so much anger and hate and foulness," she said, "and he's encouraging it."

On the supporter side was Tammy Mussler - a 48-year-old whose family runs a local mobile home and RV park who said one of her guests was hesitant to tell others he was coming to the rally.

"He goes: 'Well, I'm nervous because people are so nasty about it that you're afraid to admit that you're doing something,'" said Mussler, who said the pushback is just nastier now.

Mussler said that the women in her family are especially divided right now. She supports Trump, while they do not. She's opposed to abortion rights, while they support them. They attended the Women's March, while she found it not at all representative of her way of life.

Can this nation ever be united?

"I hope so," Mussler said with a shake of her head. "I don't know. I don't know. It would be nice, and I think if - I don't know, I don't know. I think the only thing that's going to reunite us is maybe the Lord coming back."

- - -

Les Neuhaus in Melbourne, Fla., contributed to this report.

Drugs vanishing at some VA hospitals, AP investigation shows http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0115/170229988 GZ0115 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0115/170229988 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 08:32:14 -0500 By HOPE YEN The Associated Press By By HOPE YEN The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal authorities are stepping up investigations at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers due to a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by VA employees since 2009, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press.

Doctors, nurses or pharmacy staff at federal hospitals - the vast majority within the VA system - siphoned away controlled substances for their own use or street sales, or drugs intended for patients simply disappeared.

Aggravating the problem is that some VA hospitals have been lax in tracking drug supplies. Congressional auditors said spot checks found four VA hospitals skipped monthly inspections of drug stocks or missed other requirements. Investigators said that signals problems for VA's entire network of more than 160 medical centers and 1,000 clinics, coming after auditor warnings about lax oversight dating back to at least 2009.

"Drug theft is an area of concern," Jeffrey Hughes, the VA's acting assistant inspector general for investigations, told AP. He said the monthly inspections could help the VA uncover potential discrepancies and root out crime.

Both the inspector general's office and the Drug Enforcement Administration said they have increased scrutiny of drug thefts from the VA, with the DEA reporting more criminal investigations.

It's not clear if the problem is worse at the VA than at private facilities, where medical experts and law enforcement officials say drug theft is also increasingly common in a time of widespread opioid abuse in the U.S. But the VA gets special scrutiny from lawmakers and the public, given Americans' esteem for ex-servicemembers served by the agency and because of past problems at the VA, especially a 2014 wait-time scandal in which some patients died.

"Those VA employees who are entrusted with serving our nation's wounded, ill and injured veterans must be held to a higher standard," said Joe Davis, spokesman for Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The drug thefts will be among the challenges facing newly confirmed VA Secretary David Shulkin, who served as the department's undersecretary of health while the drug problem was growing. At his confirmation hearing this month, Shulkin said he was proud that the VA identified the opioid addiction problem before others did and "recognized it as a crisis and began to take action."

Still, the VA acknowledges it has had problems keeping up with monthly inspections and said it was taking steps to improve training. It also said it was requiring hospitals to comply with inspection procedures and develop plans for improvement.

It did not respond to AP requests made three weeks ago to provide a list of VA facilities where drugs had been reported missing or disciplinary action was taken, saying it was still compiling the information.

Reported incidents of drug losses or theft at federal hospitals jumped from 272 in 2009 to 2,926 in 2015, before dipping to 2,457 last year, according to DEA data obtained by AP. "Federal hospitals" include the VA's more than 1,100 facilities as well as seven correctional hospitals and roughly 20 hospitals serving Indian tribes.

The inspector general's office estimates there are nearly 100 open criminal probes involving theft or loss of VA controlled substances.

Three VA employees were charged this month with conspiring to steal prescription medications including opioids at the Little Rock, Arkansas, VA hospital. The inspector general's office says a pharmacy technician used his VA access to a medical supplier's web portal to order and divert 4,000 oxycodone pills, 3,300 hydrocodone pills and other drugs at a cost to the VA of $77,700 and a street value of $160,000.

Christopher Thyer, the U.S. attorney overseeing the case, said the employees were abusing their position to steal from taxpayers and "poison the communities we live in with dangerous drugs."

The drug thefts from VA also raise the possibility that patients will be denied medication they need or that they will be treated by drug-impaired staff.

In one case, a former VA employee in Baltimore pleaded guilty on charges that he injected himself with fentanyl intended for patients heading into surgery, then refilled the syringes with saline solution. Patients received solution tainted with the Hepatitis C virus carried by the employee.

Dr. Dale Klein, a VA pain management specialist, said some of his patients suspected they weren't getting the drugs they needed, including one patient with an amputated leg who had to do without morphine because a VA pharmacy said it did not have enough in supply.

Klein, who is part of a whistleblowers network called VA Truth Tellers, ran a VA pain clinic from 2015 to 2016 and has filed a retaliation claim against VA, saying the VA restricted his work after he voiced complaints. The VA has said it was looking into the claims.

Klein described several of VA's inventory lists as inconsistent or a "slapdash rush job." That concern was underscored by the findings from the Government Accountability Office, released last week, that drug stockpiles were not always being regularly inspected. Klein's attorney, Natalie Khawam, says she's heard similar complaints from other clients at their VA hospitals.

The GAO review, covering January 2015 to February 2016, found the most missed inspections at VA's hospital in Washington, D.C., according to a government official familiar with confidential parts of the audit. Monthly checks were missed there more than 40 percent of the time, mostly in critical patient care areas, such as the operating room and intensive care units. That adds to the risk of veterans not receiving their full medications.

The Washington hospital also missed inspections of the facility's pharmacy for three straight months, violating VA policy, according to the official, who insisted on anonymity to reveal findings that weren't public. In the last year, the hospital had at least five incidents of controlled substances that were "lost" or otherwise unaccounted for, according to the DEA.

Other problems were found in VA hospitals in Seattle, Milwaukee and Memphis, Tennessee. Milwaukee had the fewest, which the GAO attributed to a special coordinator put in place to ensure inspection compliance.

Responding to the findings, the House Veterans Affairs Committee planned a hearing on the inspection issue. Its chairman, Rep. Phil Roe, a physician, said failing to follow protocol is serious and "should not be tolerated within VA."

Bulletin board: Feb. 20, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ01/170229989 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ01/170229989 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 The Buffalo Future Farmers of America Chapter will host West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Kent Leonhardt, and West Virginia Board of Education President, Thomas Campbell, to tour Buffalo High School's facilities from 12:15 to 2 p.m. Wednesday. For more information, contact teacher Danielle Grant at dgrant@k12.wv.us or at 304-257-3604.

The Alzheimer's Association, West Virginia Chapter, is hosting an Advocacy & Action Training Session from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Alzheimer's Association, located at 1601 Second Ave. Community members are invited to learn about the Alzheimer's Association's state and federal advocacy efforts and how they can get involved. No experience is necessary. Attendees will leave more informed and empowered advocates. For more information or to register, contact Lisa Campbell at 304-343-2717.

Rory Rennick will read "Henry's Freedom Box" by Ellen Levine, a story of a man who escaped slavery by being shipped in a box to Philadelphia, on Thursday. Rennick will be at Riverside Public Library at 11 a.m., St. Albans Branch Library at 3 p.m. and the Main Library at 6 p.m. The event is for children.

There will be Ballroom Dancing from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 520 11th St., Huntington. It will be in a classic ballroom with a beautiful wooden floor. Bring a food item to share and receive a chance for the door prize. The cost is $15 per person. Dick Newman will be the music host. For more information, email DNBL@msn.com.

The regular meeting of the Charleston-Kanawha Housing Authority Board of Commissioners will be held at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at 1525 Washington St. W.

Items for Bulletin Board may be submitted by mail to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, 1001 Virginia St. E., Charleston, WV 25301; faxed to 304-348-1233; or emailed to gazette@wvgazettemail.com. Notices will be run one time free. Please include a contact person's name and a daytime phone number.

Vintage West Virginia: Jimmy Carter http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ1601/170229990 GZ1601 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ1601/170229990 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Every Sunday and Monday, Vintage West Virginia provides a glimpse of the past in the Mountain State.

Daily Mail cartoon: February 20, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/DM0408/170229991 DM0408 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/DM0408/170229991 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500

Letter: Slashing humanities endowment reprehensible (Gazette) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0406/170229992 GZ0406 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0406/170229992 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500


The nation is in the midst of a significant political shift that many find disconcerting. While there are many issues to discuss, I would like to raise one that I find reprehensible - the slashing of funds to the National Endowment for the Humanities. I proudly served on the Board and the Program Committee of the West Virginia Humanities Council for six years. During that time, I witnessed the incredible dedication of the WVHC staff, which traveled the state to bring quality programs and solicit grant applications from nearly every county.

The program committee, made up of individuals from all over the state representing business, educational institutions and community agencies, sorted through those applications to bring valuable and entertaining programs to the people of West Virginia. These included demonstrations at county fairs, opportunities for cultural enrichment, and discussions of historical and contemporary issues that impact our state.

The WVHC was always alert to present and preserve the best of West Virginia history and culture, working with such institutions as the Contemporary Theater Festival and the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. I should also point out the program committee worked diligently to ensure its programs reached the underserved children and adults in the most remote parts of the state.

Now, the WVHC is under attack. Last year, the Republican-controlled Legislature slashed a line item in the state budget devoted to the Humanities Council, hurting but not crippling the council's important work. Now, the new president of the United States threatens to eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities altogether, gutting what public funding remains for the WVHC.

In some states, the donations of private individuals might save their humanities programming; I suspect in West Virginia it will not be enough. West Virginians will lose a valuable resource, and its children will grow up knowing much less about the history, culture and values of their state.

Meanwhile, cutting the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the other 14 agencies slated for elimination, will do little to address budget deficits. Together, they will amount to a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of a ridiculous wall. This is nothing but a case of vindictiveness.

Ken Fones-Wolf


Letter: Safe, car-free path would benefit Charleston (Gazette) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0406/170229993 GZ0406 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0406/170229993 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Editor:

What does Charleston need? Charleston needs to be appealing to people so they want to live here. Charleston needs to appeal to businesses so they want to open here.

I have lived in a few cities, some large, some small. Some had plenty to do, some had nothing to do. The cities I found that thrived the most were the cities where its residents could easily access the city without the use of an automobile.

Atlanta, Georgia, has a project currently helping shape the city called the Beltline. It is an unused railroad track-turned-path that circles the core of Atlanta. It connects people to the city in that it provides a safe, car-free path for people to walk, run, skate or bike, to access different parts of the city they would otherwise have to battle traffic or use their car to access.

Not only does it allow mobility for residents, but it is an economic generator by being an attraction for people visiting the city. Businesses pop up along the Beltline, catching the traffic along the path. The different neighborhoods along the Beltline contribute to decorating their sections with art installations, gardens or other projects that capture the uniqueness of that neighborhood. And the path also provides a space for people to exercise without the fear of being hit by an automobile.

Charleston could use a path like the Beltline. In fact, one is already in existence, called the Kanawha Trestle Trail.

This project was sidelined because the estimate to fix the trestle bridge spanning the Kanawha was too much. However, a path that goes from the 35th SE Street Bridge, follows the planned Kanawha Trestle Trail up to the trestle bridge then connects to the Kanawha Boulevard path would effectively create a path that circles Charleston, connects Kanawha City to the West Side (to South Charleston if the bridge in fixed), provides a place for people to safely exercise or commute without a car, but, more importantly, it makes the city appealing.

It appeals to the younger generation who are less likely to drive and who need to be retained in the city and state. It appeals to businesses as a way to create foot traffic. It appeals to people who go outdoors and are active who want to be safe from automobiles.

Kevin Bunch


Gazette editorial: Guns for the mentally ill? http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0404/170229994 GZ0404 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0404/170229994 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives - including all three from West Virginia: Alex Mooney, David McKinley and Evan Jenkins - voted recently for a law change likely to let more mentally ill people buy pistols, making them ready to kill at any instant. Here's the situation:

The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits weapons for "mentally defective" people. But it's difficult for authorities to identify those who have been certified by psychiatrists as ill, to block gun sales to them.

Social Security gives monthly disability support to about 75,000 Americans certified as mentally defective. During the Obama era, Social Security was required to identify them for the FBI's list of people forbidden to buy guns.

In a mostly party-line vote, the House acted to prevent Social Security from sending names to the FBI registry. The National Rifle Association requested this change.

Some Republicans argued - correctly - that most mental patients aren't dangerous, so it's unfair to deny them the right to carry loaded pistols. Even the American Civil Liberties Union supported this claim.

However, America has witnessed a horrible series of gun massacres, nearly all by disturbed, obviously unbalanced young men. Common sense requires some public protection from people who actually are dangerous.

A Bloomberg News editorial warned: "America's tragic experience with mentally ill gunmen - from Virginia Tech in 2007 to Newtown, Conn., in 2012 - shows the folly of simply dismissing the danger."

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., said: "The House charged ahead with an extreme, hastily written, one-sided measure that would make the American people less safe."

Bloomberg News concluded:

"The fundamental principle that drives NRA, and thus Republican, gun politics [is that] anyone should be able to get a gun at any time for any reason and bring that weapon, loaded, anywhere. As this latest foray in extremism makes clear, that principle applies even to the mentally incompetent."

We hope the U.S. Senate shows enough wisdom, despite GOP control, to scuttle this bizarre effort to "make the American people less safe." Senators should uphold the 1968 federal law.

Michael Blumenthal: What a philosopher can teach the president http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0405/170229995 GZ0405 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0405/170229995 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 By Michael Blumenthal By By Michael Blumenthal

MORGANTOWN - Tzvetan Todorov, a Bulgarian-French literary theorist and historian of ideas with whom I was superficially acquainted while living in Paris some dozen years ago and who wrote dozens of books, died Feb. 7 in the French capital.

He left behind a diverse body of work ranging from fantasy in fiction to the moral consequences of colonialism, fanaticism and the Holocaust. But, more importantly for our currently jeopardized nation and world, he also left behind some poignant warnings for our flag-waving President Donald Trump.

Todorov, an immigrant to France himself, did not see immigrants to Europe - or to anywhere else, for that matter - as a threat. In his 2009 book, "Fear of the Barbarians: Beyond the Clash of Civilizations," he wrote, in a passage that could well be directed at our present administration:

"One can demand from newcomers to the country that they respect its laws or the social contract that binds all citizens, but not that they love it: Public duties and private feelings, values and traditions do not belong to the same spheres. Only totalitarian societies make it obligatory to love one's country," - a policy, I would suggest, that is a bit like forcing us to love our in-laws to marry their daughter.

Todorov's words, in our present political climate, in which love of country seems more a divine imperative handed down from above than the product of free choice, are enough to make many of us tremble in anticipation of what is to come.

"Another reform," Trump promised in a frighteningly anticipatory speech on immigration in August, "involves new screening tests for all applicants that include, and this is so important, especially if you get the right people. And we will get the right people. An ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people."

Some five months later, at the time of his now-infamous executive order, the president went even further regarding his proposed love fest.

"We don't want them here," Trump said of Islamist terrorists during a signing ceremony at the Pentagon. "We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people."

Todorov's also had something else to teach our present tweeter-in-chief.

"He always refused to make superficial comments - or to react immediately after an event," recalled Olivier Postel-Vinay, founder of the French magazine Books, after the philosopher's death Tuesday. "He used to write a monthly column for Books, and I remember that this monthly pace was something very stressful for him. He wanted more time to think. He was worried about the growing superficiality of the so-called analysis in the media and on TV."

More time to think. Something the world of Twitter, along with that of the 24-hour news cycle, could decidedly use more of - something we all might make more use of.

As I have pointed out before, our present commander in chief is not one to waste precious time with such useless diversions as reading. But a glimpse or two into Todorov's opus at this particular time in history might indeed prove useful.

"The fear of barbarians," Todorov wrote in his similarly titled opus, "is what risks making us barbarian. And we will commit a worse evil than that which we initially feared. History teaches us this lesson: the cure can be worse than the disease. Totalitarian regimes presented themselves as a means for curing bourgeois society of its failings; they created a more dangerous world than they were fighting against."

Policies like those presently being carelessly embarked upon by the Trump administration, Todorov warned, "lead[s] to a twofold failure: They makes the enemy stronger, and make us weaker. This is first and foremost because the aggression to which it is a response is not a matter of states but of individuals ... who cannot be reached by massive bombings or army occupation."

Or, I would suggest, can they be reached by immigration bans as well.

"In addition," the now-dead philosopher continued, "this policy destroys the Western world from within, since, in order to defend the democratic values that we cherish, we are led to abandon them!"

Doesn't it make sense, then, friends, that every time I hear our present chief executive speak these days I hear the voice of Todorov instead. Would that Trump could listen to it as well.

Michael Blumenthal is a law professor at West Virginia University.

Dear Abby: Angry daughter-in-law may want more free baby sitting http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0507/170229996 GZ0507 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0507/170229996 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 Dear Abby: My daughter-in-law is extremely jealous of the close relationship I have with my daughter. If I spend time with my daughter and grandson, she gets mad at me and keeps my grandchildren from me. I need advice on how to handle her. I get her children almost every weekend. I work a full-time job, but she feels like I should have them more. - Grandma in Georgia

Dear Grandma: I don't think your daughter-in-law is necessarily jealous of the close relationship you have with your daughter. But it may be that she wants more free baby-sitting service. You say you have her children almost every weekend. That hardly seems to me like she's keeping them from you.

Remind her that working a full-time job and taking care of her children the amount of time you already do is as much as you can handle, and that you need time with your daughter and her son. There are only so many hours in a day, and you need time to rest if you're going to go the distance. If that's not enough for her, so be it. If she chooses to punish you for it, it is her children who will also suffer - not just you.

Dear Abby: I live in a small town in Pennsylvania, where I teach fifth grade and coach at the local school. I love my job and feel lucky to be teaching next door to my mentor.

The problem is there's another teacher and a student with whom I share the same name. I can't help but feel discouraged when colleagues and students refer to me as "Junior [name]" or "Fake [name]" and make jokes about it on a daily basis. I try to laugh it off, but it does get to me. I feel I should be respected because I am a professional. Is there a better way to handle this so it doesn't negatively affect my day? - Frustrated Teacher

Dear Frustrated: The people who do this may think they're hilariously funny, but when students do it, it is disrespectful. Tell them you would prefer to be addressed as "Mr. [first initial of your last name]."

As for your colleagues, remind them that you are an adult now, nothing about you is fake - and give yourself a nickname more acceptable than "Junior." Do it with humor. If they slip up, keep reminding them, and eventually it will catch on.

Dear Abby: I am in my 50s and disabled. I am also the full-time caregiver for my parents. I live with them because they are also disabled and need my help.

An old friend has moved back to the area. I care very much for her, but I'm afraid I have nothing to offer her because I don't have my own place or make a lot being on Social Security. I'm hesitant to get close to her because all I have is the way I feel about her. Advice? - Needing Guidance in Iowa

Dear Needing Guidance: I do have a nugget of advice for you: I think you should be honest. The way you feel about this woman could be enough for her. Whether you have anything to offer is something SHE should be allowed to decide rather than you doing it for her. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Readers' Vent: Feb. 20, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0407/170229997 GZ0407 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170220/GZ0407/170229997 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:01:00 -0500 In 1947, the Voice of America began broadcasting in Russian to the Soviet Union. Some seventy years later, The Voice of Russia began broadcasting to the USA through the Donald Trump Broadcasting System.

If they do put the food tax back on, it will cost me twice because the people on welfare will get a raise on their food stamps to cover the increase.

I'm 52 and Trump is the only president in my lifetime in which I agree completely with everything he says and does. All the others were the exact opposite.

It's obvious why Joe Manchin is supporting Trump and his administration. He knows Trump is popular in West Virginia and he plans to ride his coattails into the next Senatorial election.

Not that the inmates have the keys to the institution, do you miss President Obama??

Can anyone explain why the state Legislature continues to refuse new taxes on booze, tobacco, and soda pop? It will not hurt sales and at 5 cents on each pop and each beer , along with a minimum of 50 cents on each bottle of liquor and 25 cents more on a pack of cigarettes would bring in a needed and large amount of revenue.

How many times have private citizens attending functions at White House conversed with foreign diplomats? How many times have policies been discussed? Why weren't those conversations considered treason?

Unlike how the news media is reporting. The Flynn situation was a mistake/oversight. Called to offer condolences and a political subject came up in passing. It wasn't treason.

A poor family spends almost 25% of it's income on groceries, a wealthy family about 6%. A tax on groceries hits the poor 4 times harder than it does the wealthy.

So the FBI will not pursue charges against Michael Flynn, but didn't have any problem pursuing false charges against Hillary. Comey and the FBI are crooked and cannot be trusted. The FBI is now our KGB.

While watching the latest Trump press conference, I noted that he claims to have followed through on all his campaign promises. I guess I missed hearing about his releasing his tax returns and his vow about the first day of his presidency "Better than Ever" replacement for ObamaCare. In fact, most of his promises seem to have, conveniently, been forgotten.

If WV goes with a regressive 12.5% sales tax, we will lose many of the few people we have left. Not to mention that even if you live here, given online and other state shopping, you really don't need to buy anything from vendors that charge 12.5% sales tax. Bigly bad idea.

Never get rid of Reader's Vent, it's my only source for the real news.

My husband and I moved back to our hometown of Richwood. We are business owners and bought a home and planned to raise our two girls in a relatively safe community, and have them both attend school in Richwood. Please don't take our schools away! I'm begging as a parent who does not want her children or future generations to have daily hour-long bus rides to attend school in overcrowded classrooms. I'm begging for my community, which would be financially devastated without our schools.

Trump praised Wikileaks during the campaign when they released Russian hacking information. Now, as president, he bullies the media for revealing leaks about his administration. Because he is a bully who must have everything his way.

Well, you may have ruined the comics pages for me, but I have to say the political cartoons are absolutely hilarious.

Yes there is a lot of traffic on Corridor G. But if you are incapable of driving through it safely, maybe you should not be driving. It's bad, but not nearly that bad.

Why doesn't our billionaire Governor get together with Joe Manchin's super-wealthy pharmaceutical industry exec daughter and donate the measly $8 million needed to fix the Capitol dome leakage? Why bilk the taxpayers when private donations from wealthy politicos could do the job?

I would work tirelessly to defeat any legislator who votes to extend tolls on the Turnpike or adds tolls on any other road or bridge. Stand up and tell the people taxes are needed to maintain good roads on a pay-as-we-go basis. We understand that. What we don't understand is their continued need to never vote for new or increased taxes. They had no problem voting to lower them regardless of the dire straits it put the state in.