Tomblin announces funding to combat substance abuse

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced his office is allocating $1.3 million to bolster residential drug treatment facilities for women, increase detox beds for young people and adults and help law enforcement agencies stop drug diversion.

Funding will come from recent lawsuit settlements with wholesale distributors that ship prescription drugs from manufacturers to pharmacies, he said.

“Our work to bring more resources to fight substance abuse has not lessened,” Tomblin told members of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Substance Abuse. “We will continue bringing in everything we can to fight against this epidemic.”

The announcement came as Tomblin spoke to his substance abuse task force for the final time Friday, according to media reports. The task force started its work in 2011, and the outgoing governor spotlighted advances in the fight against substance abuse.

Tomblin highlighted programs such as a crackdown on rogue pain clinics, the expanded use of a medication that reverses drug overdoses and the launch of a toll-free hotline for West Virginians struggling with addiction.

The council has coordinated numerous community meetings across the state and pushed for policy changes.

“The recommendations coming from the council have directly resulted in life-changing reforms,” Tomblin said.

Tomblin said he hopes the advisory council, which was established by the governor’s executive order, won’t be disbanded after he leaves office. Gov.-elect Jim Justice has said he would make the state’s drug abuse problem a priority.

“I would hope this group would stay together,” Tomblin said. “We will win this battle against substance abuse.”

Tomblin also said the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has submitted a substance abuse disorder demonstration waiver for approval to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If approved, this waiver would improve quality of care and outcomes for Medicaid enrollees with substance abuse disorder issues, he said.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

Records show ex-West Virginia University dean faced charge

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Court records show that the West Virginia University dean responsible for the school’s fraternity and sorority life pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge in Pennsylvania shortly before the school announced his resignation this fall.

Associate dean of students and director of Greek Life Roy Baker, who came to the university a year earlier from Penn State University, pleaded guilty Oct. 24 and later paid a $454 fine before Judge Eugene Riazzi in McKeesport.

School officials acknowledged in early November that Baker resigned but declined to say why.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the original criminal complaint also accused the 63-year-old Baker of soliciting a male prostitute when he was arrested Sept. 4 but said that charge was withdrawn.

A call to Baker’s lawyer Friday was not immediately returned.

Trump faces pushback from base, allies over Romney musings

By JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — As President-elect Donald Trump stood onstage during the debut night of his “Thank you” tour and teased that he was about to announce a surprise Cabinet pick, some in the Ohio crowd bellowed: “No Romney! No Romney!”

Trump’s administration selections have largely been cheered by close allies and supporters. Many have deep ties to Washington and Wall Street that would seem contradictory to the populist, outsider campaign Trump ran with a promise to “drain the swamp” of corruption and elitism in government.

But the possible selection of Romney, who is on Trump’s shortlist for Secretary of State despite being a forceful critic throughout the campaign, has been met with trepidation from many of the working-class voters that propelled the Republican to his astonishing victory.

Kim Doss loudly cheered Trump at the Cincinnati rally but will not forgive Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, for the “witch hunt” he held “to make sure Trump wasn’t the nominee.”

“I think he went out of his way to make that happen, which totally backfired on him,” said Doss, a 46-year-old accountant from Hebron, Kentucky. “He obviously said some really ugly things about (Trump).”

Some of Trump’s most prominent allies, including his campaign manager, have taken the unprecedented step of using national television interviews to bash Romney. And nearly a dozen Trump backers who attended the Ohio victory lap vehemently denounced Romney as a choice to be the nation’s top diplomat.

Then there’s the Russia twist: Russian politicians are concerned about reports that Trump would even consider Romney as the U.S. top diplomat because of Romney’s harsh stance on Russia. Trump has said he would like to improve U.S.-Russian relations.

Putin said in an interview with the NTV channel to be broadcast later on Sunday that Trump’s business accomplishments show him to be a “smart man.”

He added that “if he is a smart man, that means that he will fairly soon become aware of a different level of responsibility. We expect that he act with these considerations in mind.”

Rally-goer Josh Kanowitz said he was willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt for some of his establishment-friendly picks — including former Goldman Sachs partner Steve Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury — but he visibly recoiled at the suggestion that Romney would be a Team-of-Rivals-style selection from Trump.

Romney, the GOP’s 2012 president nominee, eviscerated Trump in a March speech, delivering broadsides against the New York businessman who he deemed “a con man” and “a fake.”

“His domestic policies would lead to recession,” said Romney. “His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”

Unlike many establishment Republicans, Romney never wavered in his opposition to Trump during the campaign and did not reveal whether he voted for him. Despite that, Trump, who deeply prizes loyalty and rarely forgives foes, summoned him to his New Jersey golf club last month to interview for Secretary of State. After the meeting, Trump was said to be taken by the way Romney “looks the part” of a globe-trotting diplomat, according to people close to the transition process.

In nominating Romney, Trump would be signaling his willingness to heal campaign wounds and reach out to traditional Republicans who were deeply skeptical of his experience and temperament. The president-elect has added at least one other former critic to his team: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who attacked the businessman for being slow to denounce support from white supremacists, was Trump’s pick to be ambassador to the United Nations.

Trump is expected to announce his choice for Secretary of State in the coming days. Romney is one of the favorites for the position, joining ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Giuliani had been the initial front-runner but questions about his overseas business ties — as well as his own public campaigning for the job — are said to have given Trump pause. It remains possible a darkhorse candidate could emerge.

Trump met with Romney again last week over dinner, a remarkable moment of public courtship after which the 2012 nominee addressed reporters and did a stunning about-face on Trump, declaring that the evening with the president-elect was “enlightening, and interesting, and engaging” and that he was optimistic that “America’s best days are ahead of us.”

The reality TV-style auditions have stirred speculation that it could be a Trump-approved attempt to humiliate a prominent Republican who staunchly opposed him throughout the presidential campaign.

“People feel betrayed to think that Gov. Romney, who went out of his way to question the character and the intellect and the integrity of Donald Trump, now our president-elect, would be given the most significant cabinet post of all,” said Kellyanne Conway, a senior Trump aide. She said Romney was “nothing but awful” to Trump for a year.

Conway’s opposition to Romney is also said to be shared by Steve Bannon, the controversial conservative media executive who will serve as Trump’s White House senior adviser. And Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who was an outspoken Trump ally, has mocked Romney for “sucking up” to Trump and said he could “think of 20 other people” better suited to be Secretary of State.

Not all of the president-elect’s supporters believe that Romney would be a hard sell to Trump’s base. John James, a 55-year-old writer from Cincinnati, said Romney would be “fantastic to represent America” and suggested that “sometimes you need people who don’t agree with you 100 percent because they give a different perspective.”

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Associated Press writer Lisa Cornwell contributed reporting from Cincinnati.

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Reach Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

Officials: No smoke detectors in Ohio deadly home fire

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — No smoke detectors were found in an Ohio house where a fire killed two adults and two young girls in Akron, officials said as an investigation continued into what started the deadly blaze.

The early Saturday fire killed a man and a woman and two girls, ages 8 and 9. A 12-year-old girl was rescued and a woman escaped by jumping from an attic window in the three-story house.

Media reports said the girls were the daughters of the couple that died. Cleveland.com reported that the 12-year-old was the deceased woman’s daughter. Authorities haven’t identified the victims.

Neighbors told the Akron Beacon Journal that nearby security cameras showed smoke coming from the house around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, nearly an hour before the fire was reported.

Investigators say the blaze appeared to start on the first floor.

The Rev. Zach Prosser, pastor at Celebration Church that the victims attended, called them “a great family.” A vigil was scheduled at the church Sunday evening.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James announced on Twitter that the girls who died were members of his foundation’s educational program. The program focuses of getting Akron schoolchildren to graduate from high school and go on to college.

“Unbelievably saddened to hear the news. My heart hurts,” the Akron native wrote.

The girls attended Akron City Schools, and the district said counselors would be available this week.

Clarence Tucker, sworn in as Akron’s new fire chief just two days earlier, has said he wants to make sure every home in the city has smoke detectors, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

The fire department has worked with the American Red Cross for several years to provide smoke detectors to people who can’t afford them, fire department spokesman Mike Brooks told the paper.

Authorities to conditionally move from bridge near protest

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota authorities have said they’ll move away from a key bridge near the main Dakota Access pipeline protest camp by Sunday afternoon if demonstrators agree to certain conditions.

A Morton County Sheriff’s Office news release details the conditions as outlined Saturday by Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney.

“The question was asked if we would consider pulling back from the Backwater Bridge,” Laney said of a conversation between law enforcement and the organizers with Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, a group that will arrive on the reservation Sunday, “and the answer is yes! We want this to de-escalate.”

Authorities will move from the north end of the Backwater Bridge by 4 p.m. Sunday, they said, if protesters stay south of the bridge in the Oceti Sakowin camp, where thousands are camped out in protest against the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline, and come to the bridge only if there is a prearranged meeting with law enforcement.

Authorities also asked protesters not to remove barriers on the bridge, which they have said was damaged in the late October conflict that led to several people being hurt, including a serious arm injury. Protesters also are not supposed to walk, ride or fly drones north of the bridge, Laney said.

The bridge blockade is something that Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault has been asking to be removed, the Bismarck Tribune reports , and something he said he would to talk to Gov. Jack Dalrymple about when they meet in person. A date for that meeting hasn’t been set.

The government has ordered people to leave main encampment that’s on federal land in southern North Dakota by Monday. But demonstrators say they’re prepared to stay, and federal, state and local authorities say they won’t forcibly remove the protesters.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others say the pipeline north of the reservation could pollute drinking water and threatens sacred sites and want changes made to its route. The pipeline is largely complete except for a short segment that is planned to pass beneath a Missouri River reservoir, and Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners says it is unwilling to reroute the project.

Hundreds of veterans are due to gather Sunday on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation near the encampment, and then go to the main camp for a few days. Veterans Stand for Standing Rock spokeswoman Ashleigh Jennifer Parker told The Associated Press on Thursday that the group’s mission is “to go and ask and offer if we can help and support the tribes that are already there.”

Gun-rights backers vow to ‘go on offense’ during Trump years

By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Firearms enthusiasts who embraced Donald Trump’s campaign and his full-throated support of the Second Amendment are expecting a sweeping expansion of gun rights under his administration and a Congress firmly in Republican hands.

Among their priorities: eliminating gun-free zones at schools, reducing requirements for background checks and ensuring that concealed carry handgun permits from one state are recognized everywhere in the U.S.

“This is our historic moment to go on offense and to defeat the forces that have aligned against our freedom once and for all,” Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association, said in a video after the Nov. 8 election. “The individual right to carry a firearm in defense of our lives and our families does not and should not end at any state line.”

In pursuing their agenda, the gun lobby and its GOP supporters could find themselves at odds with two other tenets of Republican orthodoxy: states’ rights and local control.

“It would be ironic to see conservatives who long have professed a belief in states’ rights override states’ choices in this area,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law.

One of the NRA’s paramount goals is getting Congress to pass a law requiring all states to recognize concealed-carry handgun permits issued by any other state. Currently, many permit holders must leave their weapons at home when traveling or risk violating other states’ laws. NRA supporters say permits should be treated like driver’s licenses.

Trump endorsed the idea during the campaign, but it is likely to face intense opposition from Democrats in states with tight gun restrictions, including California and the president-elect’s home state of New York.

States make their own judgments on who should be allowed to have a concealed carry permit, and their eligibility requirements vary based on an applicant’s criminal history, age and training.

Many law enforcement organizations warn the change would mean encountering more guns during traffic stops and in tourist areas. They also say there is no way to easily check the validity of an out-of-state firearm permit because there is no nationwide database.

The trend among states to expand the right to carry guns is already “creating enormous challenges on the streets for police officers who must figure out whether or not the people they encounter are legally entitled to have a firearm,” said Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

Chemerinsky and another expert who studies gun law, UCLA professor Eugene Volokh, said Congress probably doesn’t have the constitutional authority to order states to recognize concealed carry permits from elsewhere. But they said Congress could encourage states to do so by threatening to withhold law enforcement and homeland security funding.

The NRA, which spent more than $30 million supporting Trump and opposing Hillary Clinton, also is calling for an end to gun-free zones around the country, including at schools. The organization has argued that such areas become targets for mass killers.

Trump pledged during the campaign to eliminate gun-free zones. To do that, Congress would have to repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1996, which limits carrying and bans the discharge of guns within 1,000 feet of schools.

Even then, Lindsay Nichols, senior attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco, said she believes states and municipalities would be able to create gun-free areas locally.

Nichols said that any push to repeal the federal law would draw opposition from gun control advocates, who are better organized than they have been in years and made gains of their own at the ballot box last month. Voters in California, Nevada and Washington state tightened firearm laws, with California enacting the nation’s first background check requirement for buying ammunition.

Even without Congress, Trump can immediately undo President Barack Obama’s executive actions on guns. Among other things, Obama put sellers on notice last year that they have to conduct background checks even when doing business at gun shows or through the internet — and that failing to do so routinely would be a crime.

Another Obama rule that Trump could jettison would make it easier for some health care providers to share information about mental illness with the federal background check system. Critics worry that sharing such details could unfairly deny gun rights to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Larry Pratt, a former executive director of Gun Owners of America, said he is eager to see Trump overturn Obama’s executive actions.

“Baby, those are going into the shredder,” he said.

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Follow Ryan J. Foley on Twitter at https://twitter.com/rjfoley

Imprisoned former CIA officer fights conviction over leak

By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Once an employee of the powerful CIA, Jeffrey Sterling now sits behind bars at a federal prison in Colorado. He bides his time by reading and writing and working at the facility’s recreational center.

Nearly two years after Sterling was found guilty of leaking government secrets to a reporter, the 49-year-old maintains that he is innocent. Sterling is now pinning his hopes for an early release on a federal appeals court, which will soon consider whether to reverse his convictions.

“I continue to have hope that the truth will come out,” said his wife Holly Sterling, who travels to the prison from their home in Missouri once a month to visit her husband. Sterling is serving a 3 1/2-year prison sentence at an all-male prison that also houses former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and ex-Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.

A jury convicted Sterling on all counts last year after he was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking details of a CIA mission to New York Times journalist James Risen. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Sterling’s case on Tuesday.

Prosecutors portrayed Sterling as a disgruntled former employee who exposed a plan to stall Iranian ambitions to build a nuclear weapon in an attempt to discredit the CIA. That operation involved using a CIA agent nicknamed “Merlin” to deliver flawed nuclear blueprints to Iran in the hopes that they would spend years trying to develop a product that would never work.

Risen described the mission in his 2006 book “State of War.” Citing anonymous sources, Risen suggested it was a reckless and botched operation that may have actually helped advance the Iranians’ nuclear program. The CIA has strongly disputed that idea.

“Sterling’s actions destroyed the program, endangered the lives of a covert human asset and his family, and compromised the United States’ ability to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,” prosecutors wrote in their appeals court brief. U.S. Attorney Dana Boente’s office declined to comment ahead of the 4th Circuit hearing.

Sterling has maintained that he was not Risen’s source, and Risen never testified during trial. His attorneys argued that the leak likely came from a Capitol Hill staffer after Sterling shared his concerns about the program with staffers at a Senate intelligence committee in 2003.

His attorneys and other advocates claim prosecutors only went after Sterling because Risen’s story made the CIA look foolish.

“If Risen had written a story about how this was a superb operation that successfully set back the Iranian nuclear program, I don’t think there is any chance whatsoever that Mr. Sterling would have been charged,” said Barry Pollack, who represented Sterling at trial.

On appeal, Sterling’s attorneys argue that, among other things, his conviction should be reversed because prosecutors never proved that Sterling ever disclosed any secret information in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the case was tried.

They also argue that the lower court inappropriately allowed prosecutors to tell jurors about Sterling’s mishandling of other CIA documents. His attorneys are urging the 4th Circuit to grant Sterling a new trial.

Sterling’s prison sentence currently expires in 2018, but his wife said he may be released as early as next December if he maintains good behavior.

Holly Sterling said her husband has recently been struggling with health issues and fears he could die in prison. She said she knows that the odds that the 4th Circuit will side with Sterling are long, but she remains hopeful.

“We are very confident in our attorneys we are very confident that it can be overturned,” Sterling said.

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Follow Alanna Durkin Richer on Twitter at twitter.com/aedurkinricher. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/alanna-durkin-richer

Florida man dubbed “Grinch” arrested again by police

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Hours after a man described by police as a Christmas “Grinch” was released from a Florida jail, he is back in the slammer.

The Boyton Beach Police Department says Francis Keller was arrested Sunday for holding up a fast-food restaurant and pointing a gun at patrons. The 56-year-old Keller was charged with armed robbery and armed carjacking.

The alleged robbery occurred just hours after Keller was released from jail on charges that he tried to steal packages from a post office on Friday night. A police statement said Keller was a former postal employee who gained access to the office by using a door code and called him “the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas.”

Keller is being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Rainbow Wahine’s season ends with loss to Gophers

Taylor goes down with injury early in sweep
The Maui News
Without its star player for most of the match, the University of Hawaii women’s volleyball team saw its season come to an end Saturday, falling to second-seeded Minnesota 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Minneapolis.
Senior opposite Nikki Taylor, the two-time Big West Conference player of the year, suffered a left ankle injury with the Rainbow Wahine behind 2-1 in the first set. She was unable to return to the match.
The Golden Gophers (27-4) were never threatened throughout, trailing for only the first three points of the second set. Sarah Wilhite had 13 kills and 11 digs, and Molly Lohman and Paige Tapp each had 10 kills for Minnesota.
Annie Mitchem led UH (23-6) with 13 kills and McKenna Granato added 11, but both leading attackers hit below .200. As a team, the Rainbow Wahine hit .194 compared to .348 for the Gophers.

Cyclone women nearly pull off upset

AMES — No. 6 Mississippi State found itself five minutes away from its first loss — and a big one at that.
The Bulldogs showed their character down the stretch, surviving a tough road environment to stay unbeaten.
Morgan William scored 24 points, Victoria Vivians had 16 and Mississippi State overcame a 17-point deficit to beat Iowa State 85-81 in overtime Saturday.
Roshunda Johnson’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter forced overtime for the Bulldogs (8-0), who trailed by 11 with 4:49 left.
“We still have work to do,” William said. “We came out flat, but most important was (that) we fought through adversity.”
Mississippi State controlled the overtime, but it took four free throws by William with the final 15 seconds to seal the win.
The underdog Cyclones (5-1) played like the favorites for much of regulation, outscoring Mississippi State 28-13 in the second quarter to go up 43-26 at halftime.
But the Bulldogs cut it to 70-68 with 36 seconds left on William’s 3, and Johnson’s contested 3 from the elbow gave them a chance to steal a big win on the road.
“That what great players do. They want to be in that moment and have the opportunity,” Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. “After that…our kids practice really hard. Anything that goes longer than 40 minutes, we’re kind of built for.”
Seanna Johnson had 21 points with eight rebounds for Iowa State. Jadda Buckley added 19 points and 11 assists. The Cyclones were 10 of 15 from 3-point range, but they also had 18 turnovers.
“I’m not upset with anyone. I know they played as hard as they could,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “We ran out of gas down the stretch.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Mississippi State: Schaefer might regret scheduling eight consecutive games away from Starkville for a team with the Final Four in its sights. This was the fourth game of that stretch, and Mississippi State looked little like the team that entered play 35-8 since the start of last season — until the final 15 minutes. That’s when the Bulldogs, aided by a cold stretch from Iowa State, took control. “We looked like we still had one foot left stuck in Hawaii,” Schaefer said, referencing last week’s successful trip to the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu.
Iowa State: The Cyclones had their first losing season since 2003 last season. If they keep playing like this, they might push for an upper-division Big 12 finish. Iowa State created open shots with excellent ball movement, overcame its lack of size by attacking the defensive glass and made the most of their forced turnovers. Fennelly’s decision to milk the clock rather than attack late ruined his team’s offensive flow.
POLL IMPLICATIONS
Mississippi State never reached as high as sixth until this week. Voters know that playing in Ames is never easy, so the Bulldogs could end up staying where they are.
PIVOTAL MOMENTS? NOT SO MUCH
Buckley drilled 3s from the left elbow to back-to-back possessions to put the Cyclones ahead 39-22, and Bridget Carleton added another 3 with 6:34 left that put Iowa State on top 64-53. All three seemed to bury the Bulldogs. But they shot 77 percent in the fourth quarter, and Seanna Johnson’s missed free throw with 21 seconds left kept the deficit at 3.
HE SAID IT
“That whole first half, they just stuck it down our throat and made us like it,” Schaefer said
UP NEXT
Mississippi State plays at Southern Miss on Dec. 10. The Golden Eagles entered Saturday at 6-1 — but they haven’t played anyone nearly as talented as the Bulldogs.
Iowa State won’t get much time to recover from this loss. The Cyclones host New Orleans on Sunday.