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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,862

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

U.S. attorney departs, but HB 6 investigation is far from over

The cruel fortunes of politics mean that David M. DeVillers stopped being the top federal law enforcement official for Southern Ohio on Sunday. But the attorney who last July announced the arrest of then-House Speaker Larry Householder, last week said the investigation that led to the arrest isn’t going anywhere.

The scandal surrounding what DeVillers said was “likely the largest bribery and money-laundering scheme ever in the state of Ohio,” continues to rock Capitol Square as prosecutors and investigators continue their work.

“I’m not going to say (there are going to be) more charges, but the investigation is not complete,” DeVillers, 55, said during an interview in his Arena District Office, flanked by portraits of Frederick Douglass, William Tecumseh Sherman and Alexander Hamilton.

For an office that prosecutes federal crimes across a 48-county area, it was strangely quiet last Wednesday, as some employees worked from home and DeVillers prepared to leave.

Read more: https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2021/03/01/u-s-attorney-departs-but-hb-6-investigation-is-far-from-over/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 04:32 AM (0 replies)

Legislature sends governor bill to reduce teacher certification requirements

The West Virginia Legislature has finished passing a bill that would allow people without education degrees to become public school teachers even if whatever degree they do have isn’t related to the subject area they plan to teach in.

The legislation now heads to Republican Gov. Jim Justice for his signature or veto.

Leaders of the Republican supermajorities that control both chambers of the state Legislature fast-tracked the bill. It wasn’t assigned to Education or any other committees in the House of Delegates, where it passed Friday with no Democratic support.

Data from the West Virginia Department of Education shows a lack of fully endorsed teachers. In one of the worst examples, there were 278 teachers this school year with at least one Geometry class on their schedule, yet 29% were not fully endorsed to teach that subject for the grade level they were teaching.

Read more: https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/legislature-sends-governor-bill-to-reduce-teacher-certification-requirements/article_87209ddc-fd01-5df0-919e-4551cfa1becf.html
(Huntington Herald-Dispatch)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 03:58 AM (3 replies)

Amended Charter School Expansion Bill Moves Ahead In W.Va. Senate

A bill expanding on West Virginia’s public charter school law is now back, in part, to an earlier version that was passed by the House of Delegates last week.

HB 2012 once again permits up to 10 public charter schools to be established by 2023. The shift occurred after an amendment adopted Friday on the Senate floor was offered by Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

“[The amendment] returns the language relating to the cap on the number of public charter schools to the original language in the House bill,” Sypolt said.

Sypolt’s amendment also removes a cap of 1,500 students placed on statewide virtual public charter school enrollment. His amendment also clarifies certain penalties that could lead to revocation of a charter school, and it requires virtual charters to be held to the same obligations as brick-and-mortar charters as it relates to needs of special education students.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/section/education/2021-02-26/amended-charter-school-expansion-bill-moves-ahead-in-w-va-senate
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 03:44 AM (0 replies)

Buffalo Creek Showing Signs Of New Life, 49 Years After Sludge Spill

Today {February 26} is the 49th anniversary of one of the worst mining catastrophes in West Virginia history, the Buffalo Creek Disaster. More than 100 people died in southern West Virginia when a dam failed.

Gov. Justice visited the Buffalo Creek Memorial to lay a wreath remembering victims of the disaster. He also met with the Buffalo Creek Watershed for a ceremonial stocking of over 1,400 trout in the creek. Restoration work started about 20 years ago.

In 1972, coal companies said an “act of God” caused a dam holding 132-million gallons of black water to break. State and federal investigations found Pittston Coal was directly to blame for the dam’s failure. The collapse killed 125 people injuring over 1,100, and left 4,000 people homeless.

The watershed is now touted as one of southern West Virginia’s most popular trout streams. The Buffalo Creek Watershed covers about 20 miles of stream from the headwaters of Curtis to the Town of Man. Perry Harvey is a member of the Watershed and a survivor of the disaster.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/government/2021-02-26/buffalo-creek-is-showing-signs-of-new-life-49-years-after-sludge-spill

Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 03:35 AM (0 replies)

Pennsylvania nursing home administrator indicted on fraud charges for falsifying staff timecards

A former nursing home administrator in Allegheny County has been indicted on charges that she falsified records, before the pandemic, to look like the facility met federal and state staffing requirements.

“These criminal charges represent the first step in holding accountable those who put profit over the health and safety of seniors,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady in a news release today.

Susan Gilbert, 60, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, health care fraud and obstruction of a federal audit, according to a news release from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. She was an administrator for Mount Lebanon Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

Gilbert, and possibly others, directed nursing staff to “clock in” for shifts but not actually work and not to include lunch breaks on their timecards, according to the news release.

Read more: https://www.theintell.com/story/news/2021/02/25/pennsylvania-nursing-home-leader-indicted-fraud-false-records-mount-lebanon-rehabilitation/6817133002/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 03:21 AM (1 replies)

West Virginia's coronavirus response coordinator says herd immunity very unlikely with COVID-19

WHEELING — West Virginia’s coronavirus response coordinator doesn’t think herd immunity will happen with COVID-19.

Missing that threshold isn’t as much about those who decline a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Clay Marsh said this past week. It’s more about those who can’t receive a vaccine right now — children.

Only people age 16 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is authorized only for people 18 and older. Vulnerable children may get vaccinated, but there remains a significant swath of the United States population that can’t get a shot and will still be susceptible to getting sick.

“The absolute definition of herd immunity for a virus that has a reproductive rate or transmission rate that this virus does would be about 80 percent,” Marsh said. “And since I don’t think we’ll be immunizing our children, I don’t think we’ll get up to 80 percent as a country. Now, enough people might get infected to substitute for that, so it’s possible.”

Read more: https://www.newsandsentinel.com/news/local-news/2021/03/marsh-says-herd-immunity-very-unlikely-with-covid-19/
(Parkersburg News and Sentinel)
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 03:02 AM (1 replies)

Labor unions threaten legal action over access at West Virginia Capitol

The West Virginia AFL-CIO is threatening legal action unless the Legislature takes steps to increase public access to lawmakers that has been curbed in part by pandemic safety precautions.

“There are lots of things they can do to allow the public to participate, even during this pandemic, and thus far what they’ve done, it appears, is go above and beyond to keep the public out of the process,” said Josh Sword, president of West Virginia AFL-CIO, a coalition of unions representing about 75,000 members.

In a letter sent to Gov. Jim Justice, Senate President Craig Blair and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw on Wednesday, Sword and the WV AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Andy Walters said the Legislature has taken advantage of in-person limitations to “to pull the shades on visibility and access, and forcefully manage the legislative process with greatly reduced opportunities for accountability from citizens, the press and political opponents.”

The letter warns that if changes aren’t made in five business days, the union coalition will take action, including potentially going to court.

Read more: https://mountainstatespotlight.org/2021/02/25/labor-unions-threaten-legal-action-over-access-at-west-virginia-capitol/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 02:45 AM (0 replies)

West Virginia lawmakers say 'school choice' will help all kids. But the bills wouldn't help some

West Virginia lawmakers say ‘school choice’ will help all kids. But the bills wouldn’t help some with disabilities

West Virginia lawmakers are pushing two education bills this year they say will help parents find options that better meet their children’s needs.

The buzzword is “school choice.” The bills would expand the number of charter schools that could open in West Virginia, and also allow parents who choose private schools or homeschooling to access the funds public schools would have received for their kids.

Senate Education Chairwoman Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, said she is promoting the bills because “they will help all students and families find the educational option that works best for them.”

But what lawmakers are billing as more choices for all won’t necessarily help many West Virginia children who need that help the most — kids with disabilities.

Read more: https://mountainstatespotlight.org/2021/02/26/west-virginia-lawmakers-say-school-choice-will-help-all-kids-but-the-bills-wouldnt-help-some-with-disabilities/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Mon Mar 1, 2021, 02:33 AM (1 replies)
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