www.wvgazette.com http://www.wvgazette.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: January 27, 2015 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT01/301279973 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT01/301279973 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:57 -0500 Anderson, Jacqueline 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Armentrout, Sharon 2 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Mt. Hope.

Backus, Pearl Noon, Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Donnally, James 1 p.m., Cooke Funeral Home, Cedar Grove.

Hall, Timothy 1 p.m., Calvary Freewill Baptist Church, Dingess.

Hood, Norma 11 a.m., Snodgrass Funeral Home, South Charleston.

Horne, Kyle 11 a.m., 14 Whitman Freewill Baptist Church, Whitman.

Matheny, Betty 1 p.m., Arbovale Cemetery Annex, Arbovale.

McColgan, Robert 11 a.m., Evans Funeral Home, Chapmanville.

Page, Linda 2:30 p.m., Graceland Memorial Park Chapel, South Charleston.

Pleasants, William 11 a.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Robinette, Laura 11 a.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Shaver, Karl 11 a.m., St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Charleston.

Sponaugle, Betty Lou 11 a.m., Richard M. Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway.

Taylor, Bernard 11 a.m., McCulla Funeral Home, Morgantown.

Taylor, Timothy 2 p.m., Matics Funeral Home, Clendenin.

Tredway, Delores 2 p.m., First Baptist Church, Ceredo.

Weatherholt, Dorothy 1 p.m., VanReenen Funeral Home, Marlinton.

West, Delmas 2 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill.

Wilson, Hilda 1 p.m., Olive Branch Baptist Church, Nettie.

Belinda Kay Adkins http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279990 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279990 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:38 -0500 Belinda Kay Adkins, 50, of Seth, died Jan. 25, 2015. Funeral will be 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, at Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet, with visitation beginning two hours prior.

Shirley "Slim" Adkins http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279983 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279983 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:48 -0500 Shirley French Adkins, 77, of Fayetteville, died Jan. 24. 2015. Service will be noon Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Dodd-Payne-Hess Funeral Home, Fayetteville, with visitation beginning one hour prior.

Virginia M. Burdette http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279982 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279982 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:48 -0500 Virginia Maxine Burdette, 94, of Dunbar, died Jan. 25, 2015. Service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at High Lawn Funeral Home Chapel, Oak Hill, www.highlawnfuneralhomechapel.com.

John Timothy Dean http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279980 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279980 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:51 -0500 John Timothy Dean, 50, of Kodak, Tenn., formerly of Gassaway, died Jan. 25, 2015. Service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Richard M. Roach Funeral Home, Gassaway, with visitation beginning two hours prior.

Freda L. Dennison http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279996 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279996 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:28 -0500 Freda L. Dennison, 85, formerly of Falls Mill, passed away Jan. 23, 2015. Graveside servce will be held at Falls Mill Cemetery on Jan. 28. Services by Stockert-Paletti Funeral Home.

Andrew J. Fry V http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279981 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279981 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:49 -0500 Andrew Johnson Fry V, 62, of Dunedin, Fla., formerly of Wayne County, W.Va., passed away Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 at Brookside Hospice in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Funeral service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, at Morris Funeral Home Chapel, Wayne, W.Va., with Pastor Don Irby officiating. Burial will follow at Community Memorial Gardens, Wayne.

He was born Jan. 8, 1953 in Huntington, a son of Andrew Johnson Fry IV and Elenor Blankenship Fry of East Lynn, W.Va. Andy joined A.T. Massey Coal as a sales representative in 1976 and soon rose through the ranks to become its vice president of metallurgical coal sales, a position he held until 1991. In 1991 he left A.T. Massey to form AMCI Coal Sales, serving as its president until 2001. In 2002 he held the same position with American Metallurgical Coal Sales (AMCS), the successor company formed to replace AMCI Coal Sales. He left AMCS once it was acquired by Alpha Natural Resources and formed Winding Gulf Coal Sales, which later became Superior Coal Sales, serving as president from 2002 to 2013. In 2014 Andy formed Maxim Coal Services, LLC which specialized in buying and selling distressed coal properties.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his sister, Rosemary Fry (Henry Smith) of East Lynn, W.Va.; a nephew, Christopher Blankenship (Jessie); a great-nephew, Elliott Blankenship; and numerous other family and friends.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Morris Funeral Home, Wayne.

Jack D. Hatcher http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279976 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279976 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:54 -0500 Jack Dempsey Hatcher, 78, of Coal City, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015.

He was of the Baptist faith. He was a retired coal miner and was a member of the UMWA.

He was born in Dunns and was the eleventh child of the late Luther Martin Hatcher and Amanda Emeline Meador Hatcher. He was also preceded in death by his granddaughter, Amanda Dawn Graham.

He and former wife, Sylvia Hatcher, had six children, Mary and David Cole of Coolridge, Dimpsey and Sandy Hatcher of Mount Hope, Cynthia and Scott Phillips of Tornado, Terry and Loretta "Dee" Hatcher of Beckley, Sharon Treadway of Beckley and Belinda and Bill Ellison of Coal City. He will be missed by his 16 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren, whom he loved.

Service will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Handley Funeral Home, 439 Phipps Ave., Danville, WV 25053, with the Rev. Charlie Bolen officiating. Burial will follow in Memory Gardens, Madison.

Viewing for family will be held at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Friends may call from 1 to 2 p.m.

You may express your condolences to the family at www.handleyfh.com.

Jacob C. Hughes http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279978 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279978 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:53 -0500 Jacob Christopher Hughes, 20, of Charleston, passed away at home on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.

Jacob was known for his brilliant skateboarding. You would always see him skateboarding in the community. He was a kind and genuine person with a big heart and was known in the community for his gentle and caring soul.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Tristan Louis Theofilos.

He is survived by his mother, Jamey Hughes (Sasha Javorsky) of Stuart, Fla.; grandmother, Tracey Hughes of Charleston; aunts, Laura Cunningham of Stuart, Fla., and Erin Cunningham of Charleston; as well as a host of others.

His family will hold a celebration of life from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston.

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

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

Charles Kermit Jones http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279989 OBIT http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/OBIT/301279989 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:02:40 -0500 Charles Kermit Jones, a resident of Sissonville, was born in Sissonville on Aug. 30, 1932 and went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Jan. 24, 2015 at the age of 82.

He was the son of the late Byron and Mabel (Jordan) Jones of Sissonville. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, Macel Jones. Also preceding him in death was his sister, Betty Jones, who had lived in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

He leaves behind to cherish his memory his brothers, Stafford (Smithton, Mo.), James and his wife, Barbara (Winfield) and Cody and his wife, Connie (Sissonville); his brother-inlaw, Rex Jones (Sissonville); his children: son and daughter-in-law, Keith and Pam Jones (Sissonville); daughter, Linda Madden (Sissonville); and daughter and son-in-law, Lois and Joe Geiger (Huntington); and his grandchildren, Allison Madden, Matthew Geiger, Ashley Madden Thaxton (Trevor) and Rachel Geiger. Also left to cherish his memory are many close cousins and special nephews, nieces and friends, including his church families at Crossroads Community Church in Sissonville and Marlaing Gospel Tabernacle in St. Albans, and also including an especially devoted friend, Nita Thomas.

He was known to most as "Kermit" and to some as either "Charles" or "Charlie." In later years, he became affectionately known to many in the Sissonville community as "Pawpaw." Kermit grew up in Sissonville and graduated from Sissonville High School in 1952. He was a veteran who was pleased and honored to have served his country in the United States Army in Korea. He was retired from Mountaineer Gas Company, where he had worked as a meter reader and leakage inspection specialist. After his "retirement," Kermit formed the Independent Natural Gas Service Company, providing line location and leakage survey services to gas companies in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. As a recognized expert in his field, he was hired by the public service commission and by gas companies to teach seminars and to share his knowledge with others. During his lifetime, Kermit made many treasured friendships. Kermit was a dedicated and loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. He was a Christian who served as an elder and trustee at his church. As his many extended family members and friends know, Kermit was a kind, thoughtful and caring man who enjoyed sharing time, stories and laughter with his family and friends. Most importantly, he loved and was loved. In remembering him, while we are saddened by the loss of his presence with us, we cherish our many memories and we celebrate his homecoming with the Lord.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Long & Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville. Visitation hours at the funeral home will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, and friends may also call one hour before the service on Wednesday.

Online condolences and tributes can be shared at www.longfisherfuneralhome.com.

Trivillian's, owner expected to plead guilty next month http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/GZ01/150129371 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/GZ01/150129371 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:19:48 -0500 A judge has set a Feb. 18 date for Trivillian's Pharmacy and its owner to plead guilty to alleged health-care and prescription drug crimes.

U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver entered an order Friday setting the date for next month after federal prosecutors asked that guilty plea hearings be scheduled for Paula Butterfield and the Kanawha City pharmacy.

Butterfield is charged with making a false statement relating to a health-care matter. Prosecutors say she submitted false claims to Medicare on her own behalf, seeking payment for drugs that were never dispensed to her.

Trivillian's is charged with two counts of health-care fraud and one count of misbranding drugs. Prosecutors say the pharmacy defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by dispensing compounded drugs while billing for more expensive brand-name drugs.

Butterfield and Trivillian's were both charged through a document called an "information," which is similar to an indictment, but usually signals a defendant has agreed to plead guilty.

Butterfield has agreed to sell the pharmacy as part of a civil settlement in a lawsuit U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office filed on behalf of Medicare and West Virginia Medicaid.

Editorial cartoon, Tuesday, Jan. 27 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129401 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129401 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500 Editorial cartoon, Tuesday, Jan. 27

Kelly Merritt: Draft column on non-work force http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129402 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129402 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500 It's not all bad - the news, that is - that West Virgina has so many people not employed.

Sure, it is a distressing statistic, reported a couple of weeks ago, that less than 50 percent of West Virginia adults are in the workforce.

The state certainly needs as many productive people as it can get working, generating income for themselves, for their employers and generating revenue for the economy and the tax base.

There are lots of needs in this state for more economic activity to fund increased tax revenue, and the best way to have that is to have more people employed, more businesses employing them and more revenue - at lower tax rates - for the state.

Having said that, it's also important to realize that not every "non-working adult" is not productive.

In fact, on the day I was reading the news about that depressing workforce statistic, I happened to stop by St. Christopher's Episcopal Church.

There in the kitchen was one of those "non-working adults" preparing what appeared to be about 20 pounds of chicken legs to be cooked for kids attending an after-school program at the 2nd Ave. Community Center in the old Paul Lawrence Dunbar Elementary School building on Charleston's West Side.

Elaine Chiles spent her fair share of time as a working adult, adding value to the community and paying her share of taxes. The former school teacher and administrator retired in 2007 after more than 40 years in education.

With her during my visit was her husband Fred, who retired in 2012 as music director at Riverside High School after working 32 years in the school system.

Fred was helping Elaine in the kitchen. When he's not doing that, he's offering music lessons and/or conducting choir practice and preparing the music for the upcoming Sunday service.

These are just two of those counted in that 50.2 percent of "non-working adults" in West Virginia.

Meanwhile, every Tuesday and Thursday at the same church, a visitor would find more "non-working adults" busily working away. Juanita Cook, Lauretha Kellum and Marcia Van Hook volunteer as co-directors of the Mary C. Snow After School program that St. Christopher's conducts for some students from the new Edgewood Elementary School.

Those co-directors, along with a dozen or so "non-working adult" volunteers, spend several hours a week transporting and tutoring kids who really benefit from the extra attention to their studies.

And that's just a snapshot of the volunteer work of a few of the "non-working adults" at one community church in town.

At St. John's Episcopal Church at breakfast and lunch every day, visitors will find scores of "non-working adults" helping to feed the area's hungry during Manna Meal.

Many of the hungry folks who eat at Manna Meal are non-working adults that need assistance to get back into the work force, while some may never truly become productive members of society and will always need the safety net that working adults provide through their tax dollars.

Across Charleston and the state and elsewhere on any given day, there are many "non-working adults" working hard to make life better for children, less fortunate adults and many others.

Retirees, or anyone with free time looking for a productive activity, can check with any church. Or call the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of the United Way of Central West Virginia at 304-340-3524.

Yes, West Virginia needs more working adults contributing to the economy.

But let's not forget the many "non-working adults" who work hard improving our community every day.

Robert Samuelson: The economy's Achilles' heel http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129403 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129403 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500 WASHINGTON -- President Obama has declared the economic crisis over -- and for the United States, maybe it seems that way.

But most other countries, not so much. Their recoveries are faltering. The obvious question is whether the global weakness will infect the U.S. expansion. This is a crucial footnote to Obama's optimism.

Two major reports -- one from the World Bank, the other from its sister organization, the International Monetary Fund -- recently lowered estimates for global economic growth in 2015. Said the IMF: "The United States is the only major economy for which growth projections have been raised."

Consider the bleak landscape. Japan is in recession. Unemployment in the eurozone (the 19 countries using the euro) is a scary 11.5 percent.

Unhappily, the IMF expects only meager eurozone growth of 1.2 percent in 2015. Even this could be optimistic if the Greek election triggers a new debt crisis. Assuming the IMF forecast is reached, growth would still be a third of the predicted U.S. rate (3.6 percent).

Led by China, so-called "emerging-market countries" have disappointed. They were expected to replace the United States as the world economy's main engine of growth.

The theory was simple. The material wants of their burgeoning middle classes could be met with known products and technologies. So: Their appetite for raw materials (iron ore, copper, corn) and advanced technology goods would stimulate the broader global economy.

It hasn't worked as imagined. From 2005 to 2012, emerging-market economies averaged annual growth of 6.5 percent. Now, the IMF projects their growth in 2015 at 4.3 percent.

Until recently, China's growth averaged about 10 percent a year. In 2014, it was 7.4 percent, and the IMF predicts 6.3 percent for 2016. It might go lower.

What spoiled the theory? For one, it ignored the reality that many emerging-market countries -- including China -- depended on export-led economic growth. This meant the crisis hit them hard. "When you rely on trade, you die when there's no demand," says World Bank economist Ayhan Kose.

And demand from the United States and Europe slumped badly. Global trade is now growing at about half its pre-crisis rate, says the World Bank.

For a while, the emerging-market slowdown was obscured because many countries took action that initially offset lost exports. In 2008, China announced a 4 trillion yuan stimulus, which -- adjusted for the size of its economy -- was roughly twice President Obama's stimulus.

Although this temporarily sustained growth, it left a legacy of high debt -- much of the plan was financed by loans to companies and localities -- and dubious investment projects.

There are "unsold apartment buildings, steel mills running at 50 percent of capacity, new airports in minor cities and underutilized highways," says economist David Dollar, the U.S. Treasury's chief representative in China from 2009 to 2013.

China's government and private debts have zoomed from 156 percent of gross domestic product (a measure of its economy) at the end of 2007 to 251 percent in mid-2014, reports the World Bank.

All in all, stagnation advances. Because China is the largest buyer of raw materials, its slowdown has abetted surpluses of many commodities -- not just oil but also grains and metals. Prices have declined. Although this helps consumers, it hurts Brazil, Australia and other producers, especially in Latin America. Low prices will deter new investment.

Meanwhile, Europe and Japan hope that their central banks' bond-buying (so-called "quantitative easing") will revive their floundering economies.

Think now how this might imperil the U.S. recovery. One channel is weaker exports; other countries buy less of what we make. Another is reduced profits from foreign operations of American multinationals. These represent about a third of total U.S. corporate profits. The danger is indirect. Weaker profits might depress stocks, leading to less consumer spending because shareholders feel poorer.

A stronger dollar compounds these threats: In the second half of 2014, the U.S. dollar rose 10 percent against major currencies.

This makes our exports more expensive and our imports cheaper. It dampens foreign profits, because profits are reported in dollars and profits earned in foreign currencies (euros, yen) translate into fewer dollars. Finally, a stronger dollar makes it costlier for foreigners to visit the United States -- and cheaper for Americans to go abroad.

None of this is conclusive; it's merely suggestive. The consensus seems to be that these foreign vulnerabilities won't derail the American recovery.

"Exports are only 13 percent of GDP," says the consulting firm IHS. "Strong domestic demand" will protect a faster recovery. Perhaps the healthier U.S. recovery will even spread abroad.

But we should hold the happy talk. The economic crisis is worldwide. It won't be "over" while its near universality persists.

Until this changes, we're exposed to foreign surprises, for good and ill.

Guest editorial: Easing regulations will help brewing businesses http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129404 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129404 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500

Reprinted from The Journal, Martinsburg, W.Va.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Some West Virginia legislators are eager to ease regulations that hamper growth of "craft brewing," it has been reported.

We'll drink to that - figuratively speaking, of course.

Craft breweries are small operations that produce beer and similar beverages in relatively small batches. Some are offshoots of taverns and restaurants.

But some craft brewers complain they are regulated much like large regional and national beer companies. That is unnecessary and it keeps the small firms from growing, their defenders say.

So yes, perhaps lawmakers should look into the matter and brew up a new regulatory framework for the crafters.

But why limit change to small operations that produce alcoholic beverages? Why not examine the rules for other types of entrepreneurships that may not require big-business regulations to protect consumers?

Small businesses account for most jobs in West Virginia, as in the nation. Start-ups similar in philosophy to the craft brewers are engaged in everything from handyman services to food sales.

While certain rules - those ensuring food, beverages, etc., are safe to consume - certainly are important, others may be unnecessarily expensive and time consuming for small business owners.

Legislators should invite comments from entrepreneurs on what state government can do - or not do - to encourage them to be successful and create new jobs. Then, lawmakers should act on the recommendations.

Editorial: Learning from other states is a smart move http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129405 DM04 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM04/150129405 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500 Local government officials from the Parkersburg area are on a trip to North Dakota to find ways to deal with a problem that most of West Virginia hasn't experienced for several decades: economic growth.

It will be a good problem to have in West Virginia for a change.

While job and population losses are likely to continue in the southern part of the state, other areas are expected to fare better, particularly along the Ohio River near Parkersburg.

A Brazilian company, Odebrecht, is considering building a huge petrochemical complex in Wood County that could create more than 2,000 permanent jobs and have a $2 billion impact on the region's economy in coming years. The potential multi-billion investment has been dubbed Project ASCENT, for Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise.

But 2,000 new jobs in an area that has experienced job and population losses since 2002 will bring problems not likely experienced in the region since the area's first chemical plants were first built in the 1940s and 1950s.

That equates to needs for new housing, new roads, possibly new schools and much more. West Virginia government officials have long forgotten what that growth was like.

To be prepared and learn from the challenges faced by other rapidly growing areas, mayors, economic development leaders and police chiefs of the Mid-Ohio Valley traveled to Minot, North Dakota, for two days of meetings. They hope to learn how to handle a major influx of workers.

"We have an agenda that's pretty packed," Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell told MetroNews.

Newell and the mayors of Vienna, Belpre, Ohio, and Marietta, Ohio, and several other officials flew to North Dakota over the weekend for meetings Monday and Tuesday.

Because of the shale drilling boom, thousands of workers have descended on Minot in recent years. Minot's population, roughly equivalent to Parkersburg's, grew by more than 4,000 new residents -- almost 12 percent -- between 2000 and 2010.

"We want to learn how they were able to cope with the housing shortage that they had and the sudden strain on their city resources," Mayor Newell said.

Rapid economic growth will be a nice problem for the area to have. And it will be even nicer if the area is prepared for it, like the Parkersburg area officials are working to do.

Community briefs for Tuesday, Jan. 27 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM01/150129406 DM01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/DM01/150129406 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500

West Virginians who are interested in free, in-person help in learning how they can obtain health insurance under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act are invited to attend an information session from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Spencer Community Building, 110 Church St.

Partners in Health Network, Advanced Patient Advocacy, and the West Virginia Primary Care Association, working under a cooperative agreement with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will provide information about how the new health insurance exchange operates under the ACA. They also will show people how they can sign up for low-cost health insurance plans. No appointment is necessary and there is no charge for this educational session. More information is available at www.bewv.com.

The 17th annual HospiceCare Tennis Tournament fundraiser will be Friday through Sunday at the Charleston Tennis Club.

Over the last 16 years, the event has raised more than $400,000 to benefit HospiceCare, a Charleston-based nonprofit health care agency that serves over 2,500 families annually in 16 counties across West Virginia. Already this year, more than $20,000 has been raised from sponsors.

During the event, there will be food and a raffle for prizes. Spectators are welcome.

Matches begin at 5 p.m. Friday and run through championship brackets Sunday afternoon.

All interested doubles teams need to register for the tournament online at www.USTA.com, or follow the link at www.charlestontennisclub.com.

The Children's Therapy Clinic's 11th Annual "A Night with the Stars" Oscar-watching gala will be 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Embassy Suites in Charleston.

Tickets are $100 each ($125 at the door). Tables of 10 are $900. Tickets can be purchased by calling the clinic at 304-342-9515.

All proceeds will be used for therapy services for children with special needs.

Concord University is hosting a special screening of a documentary that explores the long-term educational challenges for children in low-income homes.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting's The First 1,000 Days: Investing In WV Children When It Counts will be shown at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Alexander Fine Arts Center Main Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. A panel discussion will follow.

The hour-long documentary explores how poverty affects early childhood development and the special challenges faced by families in which adults either have low-paying jobs or are unemployed.

The First 1,000 Days: Investing in WV Children When It Counts, premieres at 9 p.m. Monday on West Virginia Public Broadcasting television. For additional information on the preview, contact Jessica Lilly at 304-384-5981.

The Marshall University Libraries will host a free Valentine's Day story time for children ages 2 though 8 at 11 a.m. Feb. 14. The event, which is a part of the Libraries' "MUReads in 2015" campaign, will take place in the Drinko Library juvenile area on the second floor.

Story time will include several Valentine's Day book readings, a craft and a snack.

Preregistration is required and can be done by contacting Gretchen Beach, beachgr@marshall.edu or 304-696-2312 by Feb. 12.

"MUReads in 2015" is a reading initiative that encourages reading at all ages. Families can form teams and read during the year, submitting book totals and attending a final party in December.

To submit an item, send it by email to yournews@dailymailwv.com, fax it to 304-348-4847 or mail it to Community Briefs, Charleston Daily Mail, 1001 Virginia Street East, Charleston, WV 25301.

W.Va. lawmakers to take up ACA 'kill bill' http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/GZ01/150129417 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/GZ01/150129417 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500 By Eric Eyre CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia's Republican-controlled Legislature has fired its first salvo against the federal Affordable Care Act.

Lawmakers plan to take up a GOP-backed bill Tuesday that would repeal a 2010 state law that set up a health insurance exchange that provides insurance to 19,800 West Virginians under the ACA.

The bill's critics - health advocates and some Democrats - say the legislation, coupled with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling expected this summer, could put West Virginia at risk of losing $50 million to $235 million in federal subsidies that consumers use to reduce their health insurance costs.

"Thousands of West Virginia consumers stand to lose millions of dollars," said Perry Bryant, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.

Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, called the GOP-sponsored bill [HB 2216] "an absolute attack on the best elements of the Affordable Care Act." Perdue said the legislation could leave many West Virginians without health insurance and drive up hospital costs.

"In the rush to destroy Obamacare, the health-care access of thousands of West Virginians, and the associated costs with that, have been forgotten," Perdue said. "[This] smells like a scorched-earth policy."

The bill - up for a vote Tuesday in the House Health and Human Resources Committee - also would do away with "in-person assisters" who help people wade through health insurance options before they sign up for coverage under the ACA.

"It takes away an invaluable tool that helps citizens understand their choices and make informed, intelligent decisions," Bryant said. "People really value the personal assistance in getting enrolled. These are complex issues and purchases."

House Health Committee Chairman Joe Ellington said the legislation would simply give lawmakers the final say in future decisions about the West Virginia health insurance exchange, where consumers enroll in the ACA.

West Virginia now operates what's called a "partnership exchange" with the federal government, but the state could switch to a state-controlled health insurance exchange, depending on a Supreme Court ruling later this year.

"We're just putting it in the Legislature's hands," Ellington said. "If there's a decision to go to a state-based exchange or expanding it, the Legislature gets a say-so. It's not going to be by executive order or by the secretary of [the Department of Health and Human Resources]."

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments over whether the Affordable Care Act can provide health insurance subsidies to states like West Virginia that have health insurance exchanges run partly or entirely by the federal government. A ruling is expected in June or July.

If the court finds that only state-controlled health insurance marketplaces can receive subsidies, West Virginia would have to establish that type of exchange and have it up and running by October unless justices give states an extra year.

Bryant said it was highly unlikely that West Virginia could set up the new health insurance marketplace in a few months. So consumers would lose subsidies - which average about $3,600 per person each year - and might no longer afford to purchase health insurance. A recent federal report estimated West Virginians would lose up to $235 million in subsidies, but Bryant said the loss could be closer to $50 million.

"The House bill gambles a ton of money for West Virginians to make their [health insurance] premiums more affordable - based on what the Supreme Court is going to do," Bryant said. "That's a gamble I wouldn't take. The timing of this couldn't be worse because of the uncertainty of where the court is going to end up on the issue."

Ellington said state lawmakers plan to react swiftly to the Supreme Court decision.

"We'll call a special session [to authorize a state-based health exchange]," Ellington said. "We're just trying to make sure we have a say in what happens and not be dictated to by the executive."

Perdue said conservative groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council are pushing state Legislatures to adopt ACA "kill bills." The language in West Virginia's bill was copied from legislation that passed in Missouri two years ago.

"I suspect this is a nationwide effort that aims to completely destroy the Affordable Care Act," said Perdue, who headed the House HCalth committee before Republicans took control of the Legislature this year. "If the exchange is ruled against negatively and enough states invoke this tactic, the costs to those states for the uninsured ... would be enormous and unwarranted."

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

Dawn Miller: Cause for optimism on W.Va. child welfare? http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/ARTICLE/150129419 ARTICLE http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/ARTICLE/150129419 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500 As of Dec. 31, West Virginia had 4,229 kids and teens living away from their own families at public expense. Of those, 301 were sent out of state.

Now, if each of those kids were sitting in the safest place to get what they need with the least disruption to their lives, I would have no story. Or, actually that would be a big story because as far as I know, that has never happened.

Too often, kids with problems are pulled out of their homes, even when problems are not severe enough to warrant such drastic action.

Many families who end up on the radar of Child Protective Services may be salvageable, if they get the right help. That help is usually best offered at home or close to home.

Easier said than done. It's easier to just send a kid off somewhere you know he'll be fed and hopefully schooled, safe and counseled. It's certainly easier to get that kind of treatment paid for.

So, Karen Bowling, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, wants to change it.

West Virginia has received a waiver, or permission, to spend a certain category of federal child welfare money (known as Title 4-E by those in the trade) in new and interesting ways. Specifically, Bowling wants to spend federal money to meet the needs of the state's children as close to their homes as possible.

She calls it Safe At Home, and she has her staff working on a plan to satisfy federal officials.

West Virginia will take the money currently spent on bills for kids sent to institutions in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio and even more distant states, and to spend it on things the kid needs instead, whatever that is.

Mental health services close to home, perhaps. The right kind of home visitors. Help for moms and dads.

"The idea behind the project is really to strengthen families to try to create really strong connections between families and their communities," Bowling said. "We're going to focus on reunification, adoption, guardianship, everything we can to put a caring adult in a child's life."

She intends to start with 12- to 17-year-olds, the kids most likely to be sent to residential treatment, near and far. Since last fall, her department has been planning how to provide the necessary services starting in DHHR's Region II, roughly the southwest corner of the state, including Kanawha, Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Putnam and Wayne counties. The new effort starts Oct. 1. Once they see results, the plan is to expand to the entire state.

West Virginia was one of 10 states selected in this last round of waiver applications. The state will be expected to demonstrate to federal officials that children and families are getting the help they need. Bowling expects to show families are getting higher quality help for a lower cost.

"We all know children are certainly better off in their home environments when possible," she said.

Even just working on the plan has made a difference in how children and families are helped, Bowling said. The number of kids in the state's care continues to fluctuate throughout the year as it always has, standing at 4,229 on Dec. 31.

But the 301 kids sitting in out-of-state treatment centers on Dec. 31 was down from 326 on Sept. 30, 2014; and that number was down from 348 on Sept. 30, 2013.

That is top of mind awareness, Bowling said. Fewer kids are being sent out of state unnecessarily because just the act of focusing on the problem, even before the initiative formally starts, has influenced behavior of child welfare staff. People are looking harder for local solutions before sending children away.

"We talk about this all the time. We're getting everybody on board. We're making a difference," she said.

Dawn Miller, the Gazette's editorial page editor, can be reached at dawn@wvgazette.com, or @gazette_opinion.

Festival of Ideas event happens tonight http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/GZ01/150129424 GZ01 http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150127/GZ01/150129424 Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:01:00 -0500 Last year's winner of the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction will be in Charleston Tuesday night for the annual Festival of Ideas, co-sponsored by The Charleston Gazette and West Virginia University.

Dan Fagin, author of "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation," will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the Clay Center. Fagin, a longtime investigative journalist, wrote about Toms River, a town in New Jersey, and the health problems its residents faced after years of pollution.

"The message of Toms River is an important one for West Virginia, with its long and tangled history with the chemical industry," Fagin told the Gazette last month.

The event is free and open to the public.