A day after the federal judge declared that he will wait up to two weeks to issue his ruling to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Red Warrior Camp continues to grow and thrive.


August 25, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Cody Hall

Organization: Red Warrior Camp

Voice Phone Number: (605) 220-2531

Email Address: RedWarriorCamp@gmail.com

Social Media: Facebook.com/RedWarriorCamp , @ZuyaLutaOceti on Twitter

Cannon Ball River, 1851 Ft Laramie Treaty Territory…

A day after the federal judge declared that he will wait up to two weeks to issue his ruling to temporarily halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Red Warrior Camp continues to grow and thrive.
The camp has established a recycling program; a food distribution program to support camp kitchens; nonviolent direct action training and culture based activities.

North Dakota Homeland Security Division’s decision to abruptly remove their trailers and drinking water tanks have not affected the people in camp.

Much like our ancestors before us, we are resilient and will persevere. These delays will not deter, but in fact will motivate, the people to focus on what they came here for…to protect the water.

More than 50 native nations and allies from around the world have converged here on the banks of the Cannon Ball River to be a voice for the sacred water and Mother Earth. The population is expected to increase in the coming week with the influx of additional tribal nations arriving.
——————————–
To support the Water Protectors at the camp please visit Owe Aku’s web page at www.oweakuinternational.org and click Owe Aku. There you can find more information on our history as cultural and environmental protectors. The camp needs us all more than ever now. Wopila.

TRIBAL GATHERING FACES AGGRESSIVE STATE REPRESSION AND MEDIA MANIPULATION


For Immediate Release: August 23, 2016

Contact:

LaDonna Allard (CSS), ladonnabrave1@aol.com, (701) 426-2064

Dallas Goldtooth (IEN), dallas@ienearth.org, (507) 412-7609

Tara Houska (HTE), tara@honorearth.org, (612) 226-9404

The historic gathering of tribes from across the continent in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline continues in the face of aggressive state repression and media manipulation.  Last Friday, Governor Dalrymple declared a State of Emergency in order to make additional state resources available to “manage public safety risks associated with the protest.”  Dalrymple has complained of “outside agitators” responsible for “hundreds of criminal acts,” and called on federal officials to help.  But LaDonna Allard, Director of the Camp of the Sacred Stone, says, “The gathering here remains 100% peaceful and ceremonial, as it has from day one.  We are standing together in prayer.  No firearms or weapons are allowed.  Why is a gathering of Indians so inherently threatening and frightening to some people?”
On Monday, August 22, the Morton County Board also declared a State of Emergency in order to access the funds released by the Governor – to request overtime wages, extra equipment, and money to reimburse other law enforcement agencies sending resources.  This decision relies on a false narrative of violence put forth by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, who last week announced outrageous, unsubstantiated claims of “pipe bombs” and gun violence at the protest site.  Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network says, “These are dangerous statements by Sheriff Kirchmeier and only foster greater resentment between local native and non-native residents. Furthermore, we have women, children and elders in our camp; and because of the Sheriff’s false narrative those families now have to fear for their own safety. ”
Meanwhile, the main road accessing the camp, Highway 1806, has been shut down by authorities since Friday.  A military-style checkpoint is established at Fort Lincoln, where motorists are constantly surveilled with cameras and interrogated about their activities.   Identities are recorded and anyone suspected of traveling to the protest site is turned away and forced to travel a long detour. These checkpoints violate constitutional protections and international law by restricting freedom of movement without justification.  They further isolate a people who are already extremely geographically and politically isolated.  At the same time, police presence has been amplified on the reservation and many have been racially profiled and harassed for no reason. 
On Monday, North Dakota’s Homeland Security Director ordered the removal of state-owned medical trailers and water tanks from the camp, citing reports of unlawful activity and fears that the equipment is unsafe.  Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director for Honor the Earth, says, “It is deeply ironic that the Governor would release emergency funds under the guise of public health and safety, but then remove the infrastructure that helps ensure health and safety in the camp.  This is nothing but repression of our growing movement to protect our water and future generations.”
The North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also announced they are investigating two incidents of “laser strikes” aimed at surveillance aircraft patrolling above the camp.   “Why launch a federal investigation into a laser pointer instead of asking what right the US government has to fly surveillance planes over sovereign nations in the first place?” said Houska.  

###

No Dakota Access in Treaty Territory – Camp of the Sacred Stones

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State Begins Random Drug-Testing of Middle School Children — With Punishment


Claire Bernish

August 22, 2016

 

Random drug-testing of middle-schoolers — with penalties — has become a reality for a school district in New Jersey that already does so with high school students.

Though the Lacey Township Board of Education program will be implemented purely on a “voluntary” basis for seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs and extracurricular activities — and only then with parental consent — the invasiveness of the plan should sound a number of alarm bells.

“I’m a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say ‘no’ and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens,” district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media following the school board’s vote on August 15.

Students will be offered the option to participate in the random drug-testing program, but the parents of those who do must sign a 12-month consent form.

Worse, the school plans to hand down stiff penalties to students who test positive — a first violation would bar a student from participation in sports and extracurriculars for 10 days, and on a second offense, the suspension would last 45 days. A third strike, unsurprisingly, bars the ‘offending’ student from athletics and extracurriculars permanently.

Students who sign up for the program but refuse to take a drug test when selected would face the same harsh penalties as those who test positive for drugs — meaning voluntary participants must adhere to the plan, or else.

“It’s really another tool for schools and families to keep their kids safe,” Wigley continued. “I think it’s a wonderful addition and it’s good to be in the forefront of that. We’re being proactive.”

It would be feasible to imagine civil liberties advocates would beg to differ with that assessment, but NJ Advance Media apparently didn’t contact any for an opposing viewpoint. The Free Thought Project reached out to the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union for comment, but at the time of publication, had not received a response.

As NJ Advance Media noted, the school board’s program will allow up to 40 students per month to be tested from September 1 through the end of the school year — but no explanation for the 12-month length of consent was provided.

As the outlet wrote:

The board of education will annually adopt the list of prohibited substances and determine the cut-off levels for each substance that determines a positive test before the beginning of each school year. The list of prohibited substances is expected to including alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine, opiates and any others substance defined as a controlled dangerous substance by state law.”

As noted by High Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics generally opposes random or ‘suspicionless’ drug testing in schools, citing the lack of efficacy versus potential risks.

Proponents of random drug testing refer to potential advantages such as students avoiding drug use because of the negative consequences associated with having … positive drug test results,” the AAP wrote in a statement in March 2015, “while opponents of random drug testing agree that the disadvantages are much greater, and can include deterioration in the student-school relationship, confidentiality of students’ medical records, and mistakes in interpreting drug tests that can result in false-positive results.”

AAP does support identifying possible substance abusers so appropriate assistance could be provided, but feels testing should be left to pediatricians.

As NJ Advance Media unironically reported, “No student will be penalized academically for testing positive for drug[s] or alcohol under the policy.”

High schools in Lacey have performed random drug testing of students since December 2013 — though, in contrast to the middle school policy, that program is not voluntary. Each month, 30 students are selected randomly for drug screenings whether or not schools suspect them of actually using illicit substances.

“Students who test positive will lose the ability to participate in extra-curricular [sic] activities — sports, graduation ceremonies, school trips and proms — and parking privileges,” NJ Advance Media reported in 2013. “Along with notification of his or her parents, students who fail a test will have to meet with a substance abuse counselor. The student will also have to submit to four additional drug tests over the next 12 months. Failure of those tests could lead to a year’s worth of revoked privileges and activities, and a requirement to attend a drug rehabilitation.”

Alarmingly, some three dozen public school districts in New Jersey had implemented random drug testing for students as of three years ago.

Considering drug tests are notorious for producing false positives — or can flag a legally-prescribed drug as an illicit substance — policies like these should at least be subject to intensive scrutiny, if not outrightly banned. Further, it should be noted, because these are public schools, taxpayers foot the bill for the Nanny State’s intrusion into adolescents’ lives.

Rather than educating students about the effects of substances the government deems illegal — teaching them to respect drugs by comparing the perils of abuse to use in moderation — such programs inculcate the sort of taboo around substances that often lead teens to experiment in the first place.

While local media nearly unanimously praised the voluntary testing of seventh and eighth graders, the public had a more mixed response — some commenters on the NJ Advance Media article felt drug testing should be left to parents and schools should focus on the obvious task at hand: education.

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana News Roundup: Pot and Politics Ahead – 24/7 Wall St.


What You Need to Know about the 2016 Presidential Candidates’ Marijuana Views
The chatter of cannabis has grown a little louder on the U.S. campaign trail this season.

The leading third-party candidates have called for full marijuana legalization, while the nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties have broached the topic more frequently — now that half of the nation has medical marijuana laws in place, a handful of states have gone recreational and several others will have cannabis-related ballot initiatives this November.

“It has the capacity to become a very important issue,” said Andrew Schnackenberg, an assistant professor of strategic management at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. “It is a hotbed issue still, and you have at least two of the (presidential campaigns) on the record in favor of legalization, which pushes the debate into an interesting direction for the other two candidates (Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton).”

But just how prominent the topic may become this election likely will depend on whether the pro-legalization, third-party campaigns of Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein successfully make it to the debate stage, said Paul Seaborn, an assistant professor in the Daniels College of Business’ Department of Management.

Source: Marijuana News Roundup: Pot and Politics Ahead – 24/7 Wall St.

Geoff Young filed a civil lawsuit against the Kentucky Democratic Party, the Fayette County Democratic Party, and five powerful Democrats yesterday…


Media Release – For Immediate Release – August 20, 2016

 

 

Lexington, KY

Geoff Young, a Lexington politician who lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in Kentucky’s 6th District to Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper on May 17, filed a civil lawsuit against the Kentucky Democratic Party, the Fayette County Democratic Party, and five powerful Democrats yesterday. His accusations include conspiracy to commit election fraud and the violation of his due process rights.
Young is also asking District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove to freeze the assets of the state and county parties until his lawsuit is finally resolved.
The first page reads as follows, and the complete, 47-page civil complaint is available via the Dropbox link below.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY

GEOFFREY M. YOUNG, pro se, Plaintiff ] CASE NO. 3:16-CV-62-GFVT

454 Kimberly Place ]
Lexington, KY 40503 ] COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
Phone: (859) 278-4966 ]
Email: energetic@windstream.net ] AND REQUEST FOR AN
]
v. ] EMERGENCY INJUNCTION;
]
SANNIE OVERLY, CLINT MORRIS, ] JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
]
ANDY BESHEAR, ALISON LUNDERGAN ] 1. Electoral fraud – sham elections
]
GRIMES, JACK CONWAY, THE STATE ] 2. Denial of due process – sham or no
]
CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ] procedures for resolving disputes
]
OF THE KENTUCKY DEMOCRATIC PARTY ] 3. Official misconduct in the first degree
]
AND THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF ] 4. Deprivation of honest services
]
THE FAYETTE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ] 5. Violation of Executive ethics codes
]
PARTY, Defendants ] 6. Nullifying valid statutes
]
] 7. Intimidation by means of sanctions
]
] 8. Threats of physical force

Plaintiff alleges as follows:

JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court by Title 18, U.S.C. § 241, Conspiracy Against Rights; 18 U.S.C. § 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law; 18 U.S.C. § 245, Federally protected activities; and 18 U.S.C. § 1346, Deprivation of Right of Honest Services. Venue is proper in the Eastern District of Kentucky because all the Defendants reside or hold
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES – Page 1 of 47
https://www.dropbox.com/s/1oowarjxlu85wdi/Complaint%20KDP%20Federal%20Denial%20due%20process%20Aug1916.doc?dl=0
For more details or an interview in any format, please contact:
Geoff Young
454 Kimberly Place
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: (859) 278-4966
Email address:
energetic@windstream.net
Former campaign web site: young4ky.com

GEOFFREY YOUNG ON FACEBOOK

Mental Health Bill Caters to Big Pharma and Would Expand Coercive Treatments


Friday, 06 November 2015 00:00 By Oryx Cohen, Truthout | Op-Ed

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), right, and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a news conference about the Affordable Care Act at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, Oct. 23, 2013.(Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania), right, and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a news conference about the Affordable Care Act at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, October 23, 2013. (Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

On its surface, the mental health reform bill introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania looks promising. Murphy is the only licensed psychologist in Congress, everybody agrees that our mental health system is not working, and we would all like to help families in crisis.

On closer inspection, however, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) – commonly known as the “Murphy Bill” – appears to cater more closely to the desires of pharmaceutical companies than to the actual needs of people in psychological distress, perhaps because of Murphy’s connections to key lobbyists.

Murphy’s financial supporters include the American Psychiatric Association, psychiatric hospitals and the National Rifle Association, and his campaign contributors include no less than nine pharmaceutical companies and a law firm that represents Big Pharma.

The bill was marked up Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee and passed by that subcommittee, despite strong objections from almost all the Democrats on the full committee. The next step is for the full Energy and Commerce Committee to vote on moving the bill forward, followed by the House vote. A timetable has not yet been set. Although the bill is gaining momentum, there is substantial opposition, so passage is still uncertain.

If the Murphy Bill is passed, psychiatric hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will reap huge financial benefits as a result of increased hospitalization and forced treatment. One way the bill will do this is by creating a financial incentive for states that implement “assisted outpatient treatment”: court-ordered treatment (including medication) for people whom a judge deems as living with “severe mental illness” and unlikely to willingly take prescribed psychiatric medications.

Psychiatric hospitals would also benefit from the bill’s proposed elimination of the “Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion,” which currently makes mental health institutions ineligible for funding through Medicaid. By enabling psychiatric hospitals to access this funding, the Murphy Bill could usher in an unprecedented era of re-institutionalization, going against the recommendations of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which asserted in 1999 that people with mental health issues have the right to be in the least restrictive setting possible. If passed, the Murphy Bill will lead to large-scale re-institutionalization in hospitals for longer periods of time for people who now generally have the right to live in supportive communities of their choosing.

The Murphy Bill threatens the recovery and community integration practices that current consumers of mental health services and survivors of coercive psychiatric interventions have worked so hard for over the last 40-plus years to create for those most in need. In particular, the bill would dismantle the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), which actively funds and supports important efforts to rebuild the community and family life of people dealing with mental health issues through non-medicalized institutions such as peer-run respites (short-term crisis centers managed by people living with mental health concerns and available to “self-referred” individuals seeking to avoid hospitalization through support from peers). SAMHSA also supports suicide prevention initiatives, trauma-informed practices, Emotional CPR (an educational program aimed at teaching people how to assist others through an emotional crisis), Wellness Recovery Action Planning and much more, all of which would suffer if SAMHSA were dismantled. The bill would also threaten people’s rights by weakening state “Protection and Advocacy for People with Mental Illness” organizations, which offer rights protections, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, making it easier to force people into treatment.

Murphy and his supporters criticize opponents of the bill for being “against families.” They fail to acknowledge that families are not united in support of this bill. While the national headquarters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has come out in support of the bill, many local NAMI affiliates are against it. Activists who identify as current consumers of mental health services or survivors of psychiatric interventions are frequently approached by desperate family members who are looking for alternatives to coercive and institutional responses to mental health crises. We are finding ways to include families because rebuilding strong family connections can be essential to recovery.

Community-Based Solutions to Mental Health Crises

Rosey Padgett in Prescott, Arizona, recently contacted the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery because her son Nick was trapped in the mental health system. Currently, he is in the Arizona State Hospital.

“Nick has been placed in mental hospitals approximately 30 different times over the past seven years,” Padgett says. “He has been court ordered and placed in many different group homes. All of the group homes have made his behavior worse due to being forced into these situations when these homes are not an environment for healing. No wonder so many people with emotional and mental distress commit suicide: They feel dead inside and hopeless from being forced to take medications that make them feel horrible.”

What has worked for Nick is connecting with other peers and having tremendous family support. A woman from the local Hearing Voices Network has begun visiting with him and providing peer support, as they are both voice hearers. He is doing so much better that the doctors at Arizona State Hospital are talking about releasing him in a few months.

Nick’s story is similar to the stories of others around the country who are languishing in and out of hospitals. Often it is not what is happening in those hospitals that helps people reestablish a life; it is the family and community support they have once they leave the hospital.

Murphy Bill proponents point to a lack of institutionally or medically directed mental health treatment as being a primary cause of the alarming rise of violent acts such as school shootings and suicide. However, when we look at this argument closely, it falls apart.

This argument overlooks the fact that the link between mental health conditions and violence is minuscule, as many studies have shown. Mentalhealth.gov, a website run by the federal government, says:

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3 to 5 percent of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population…. When economist Richard Florida took a look at gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

We should probably be doing more questioning of the treatments themselves. For example, many antidepressant medications, such as Paxil, that are commonly prescribed to young people, have a black box warning that they can increase suicidality among teenagers.

We all want to see violence and suicide go away, but passing legislation that imposes increased mental health screenings and forced treatments (including psychiatric medication) on unwilling individuals is neither an ethical nor an effective way to accomplish this, especially given the risk of medications backfiring.

Standing Up for Peer-Run Recovery

Perhaps Murphy and supporters of his bill should ask those of us who have lived through extreme emotional distress for ideas and possible solutions. Thus far, the many activists who share the concerns I have outlined here have been denied a seat at the table in congressional discussions of the Murphy bill, despite the recommendation made in 2003 by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which said that transformations of the mental health system should be led and informed by consumers of mental health services.

What would survivors of extreme emotional distress say if we were at the table with Congressman Murphy?

Many of us would say that our mental health crises occur when we feel alone, abused and generally isolated from the rest of the world. We would thus raise our concern that, rather than reestablishing social connections, the current mental health system often disconnects us even more and leads us to a lifelong dependence on the system itself.

Let’s take Dan, who as an adolescent contemplated shooting up his middle school. It wasn’t medication or therapy that prevented this terrible potential tragedy; Dan says it was talking to his friends at school and playing Dungeons and Dragons that grounded him and gave him hope. In other words, peer support.

What would have happened if Dan had been flagged as a result of a mental health screening? He likely would have been removed from his social circles and placed in an institution, perhaps becoming permanently dependent on the system.

Dan is now a part of a peer-run recovery community called the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. He has his own place to live, a job, friends and a life, and is starring in the documentary HEALING VOICES. The Recovery Learning Community helps people to establish much-needed social connections and gain a sense of belonging. This community is there when Dan needs it, and he doesn’t need a diagnosis or a referral to attend the many support groups and wellness activities: the strength of places like the Recovery Learning Community is that they an integrated and open part of the broader community and not separate from it.

But if the Murphy Bill passes, places like this might cease to exist. By requiring expensive clinical oversight and unprecedented congressional control over federal grants, the Murphy Bill targets consumer-run organizations and peer specialists, making it likely that national consumer-run organizations will be shut down, severely restricting what peer specialists can do and posing a threat to local peer-run organizations such as the Recovery Learning Community.

Critics dismiss many opponents of the Murphy bill as being “anti-medication,” but in fact many of us take medications and have found them useful. Our philosophy is that people should have accurate information to make informed choices, including the choice to use alternatives to medications. With the increase in violence and suicide and the alarming fact that people in the public mental health system die an average of 25 years younger than the rest of the population, shouldn’t researching and supporting alternatives be a priority?

Current consumers of mental health services and survivors of psychiatric interventions are willing to share our knowledge and expertise.

Is anyone willing to listen?

    CONTINUE READING…

    a state law called the Little TVA Act and EPB’s contract with the TVA mean that TVA ultimately regulates and approves all rates and rate structures for EPB.


    Congressmen have not received AG letter concerning GEPB rates

    • BY MELINDA J. OVERSTREET moverstreet@glasgowdailytimes.com
    • Aug 11, 2016

    EPB rate protestors at Rand Paul meeting

    GLASGOW — Spokespersons for U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said Thursday that their respective offices had not, to the best of their knowledge, received a letter from Kentucky’s attorney general regarding the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s electricity rate structure.

    U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was in Glasgow on Tuesday for an open meeting with constituents and heard about the letter from audience members. He said his office would serve as an advocate in the sense of connecting local residents to others in the federal government who could help.

    A letter addressed to the trio in the commonwealth’s congressional delegation from Attorney General Andy Beshear was provided to some local residents last Friday and made its way to the Daily Times as well, but it had Monday’s date on it. It was unclear as to when it was actually mailed to the intended recipients.

    EPB’s rate structure went into effect Jan. 1. It includes a customer charge for EPB’s cost of delivering the power it purchases wholesale from the Tennessee Valley Authority. For the power itself, EPB passes along its wholesale cost from TVA in like manner — with different rates for peak and off-peak hours, with relatively little difference between those two, and a coincident peak demand charge. The summer rate for the coincident peak — the one hour during each month when demand is the highest — is $11 per kilowatt, and it’s slightly less than that in the winter.

    Although EPB uses weather forecasts to try to anticipate when that hour may be and issues alerts using multiple modes of communication, it’s impossible to know until the month is done which hour is the one that will bear that cost. Typically, a window of a few hours is provided if a possible CPD could occur on a particular day, but with recent weather patterns, that has happened on multiple days in a row. EPB has also suggested that consumers should just not use any unnecessary electricity during those hours and adjust their thermostats up approximately 4 degrees, but customers have complained that no matter what precautions they take, it still seems their bills jump considerably due to that one charge.

    Beshear’s letter said the rate structure penalizes people who are unable to be flexible with their electricity consumption, such as elderly and disabled persons, and/or ones who can’t afford newer, more energy-efficient appliances.

    “Most regulators and consumer advocates view residential demand charges as a blunt instrument, described as a ‘gotcha’ rate with unpleasant surprise impacts,” the letter says, noting that in most cases where such a rate structure has been incorporated, it has been only for large commercial/industrial customers.

    The Office of the Attorney General’s Office of Rate Intervention has some regulatory authority over municipally owned utilities, but Beshear recognizes in the letter that a state law called the Little TVA Act and EPB’s contract with the TVA mean that TVA ultimately regulates and approves all rates and rate structures for EPB. The Office of Rate Intervention, upon the OAG’s receipt of numerous significant complaints from local customers, initiated a dialogue with TVA, a federal agency, to try to find a suitable resolution, but the letter asks McConnell, Paul and Guthrie to get involved as well.

    “As the regulator, TVA is uniquely positioned to recommend and approve modifications to the rate schedule and help alleviate the unfair burden imposed upon the Glasgow residents,” Beshear’s letter says.

    In the interim of the congressional delegation’s receiving the letter, Jim Hopson, manager of public relations for TVA, has responded to some of the specific concerns raised in the document.

    He said last week that TVA would welcome a dialogue with federal, state and local officials.

    “In our role as regulator, TVA works with local power companies to ensure power is provided to consumers in a nondiscriminatory manner at rates as low as feasible,” Hopson said. “We also have a responsibility to listen to the concerns of consumers as well as the officials and agencies who represent them. Electric bills affect everyone, from families to large businesses, and we care about all those who call the Valley home.”

    He has noted, however, that it is not TVA’s role to tell local utilities how to design their rates, only to ensure that they use “industry standards” in calculating the bills and that they are fair and equitable.

    The Daily Times asked whether any of the other 153 local power companies in a total of seven states to which TVA sells power use similar methods that are based on that one-hour peak demand.

    “The rate structure GEPB implemented charges each customer his or her contribution to Glasgow’s peak demand, which is billed to GEPB by TVA,” Hopson responded. “Although this is unique among residential customers within the Valley, there are approximately 10 local power companies that have implemented this same structure for their large commercial and industrial customers.”

    Although different classes of customers may be distinguished, such as residential and commercial, and even categories such as sizes of commercial businesses, once you have defined those classes, you can’t treat people within those classes differently, Hopson said.

    Beshear’s letter says that, based on correspondence between TVA and EPB, TVA “had reservations about the rate structure prior to approving it.”

    The Daily Times asked TVA: “If TVA had reservations before approving the rates, what specifically changed your minds that allowed EPB to proceed?”

    Hopson replied that TVA had multiple discussions with EPB over several years prior to approval of EPB’s requested rate structure changes.

    “A primary focus of those discussions was to ensure that GEPB accurately determined the costs associated with the new rate design and assessed how those costs would be passed on to consumers. TVA respects local decision-making regarding the timing and implementation of such changes,” Hopson said. “When TVA approved the proposal, the decision was based on conversations GEPB had with their community, their extensive multimedia and educational outreach program, inclusion of TVA’s requested changes and the fact the proposal fairly and equitably shared costs among all consumers.”

    CONTINUE READING…

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    Black market fentanyl use increasing in Kentucky


  • Deborah Highland
  • Aug 15, 2016
  • ent3

    Fentanyl, an opioid painkiller 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, was found in the toxicology screens of 420 people who died in Kentucky last year of drug overdoses.

    That’s a 247 percent increase from 2014, when 121 people who died of drug overdoses had fentanyl in their toxicology screens, according to numbers provided by Van Ingram, executive director for the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

    “We’re seeing a huge uptick in fentanyl in Kentucky,” Ingram said.

    Pharmaceutical fentanyl is used in hospitals during surgery and is also provided in pain patches to people with severe, chronic pain, such as a cancer patient. But unlike opioid pain pills that have been diverted to the black market for years, pharmaceutical fentanyl isn’t what street dealers or drug abusers are using, Ingram said.

    “We’re not seeing pharmaceutical fentanyl being diverted but instead it is being produced out of the country and being smuggled in,” Ingram said.

    The drug is being made in clandestine labs primarily in Mexico and China, he said.

    “We’ve not seen a lot of labs in the United States, although there have been a few. The real danger of fentanyl is it is so powerful that skin exposure or powder exposure through the mouth and nose can put law enforcement at great risk,” Ingram said.

    Recently, the DEA sent out a warning to law enforcement agencies urging officers not to conduct field testing on suspected fentanyl and to instead package it and send it off to a crime lab for testing, he said.

    Most often when police encounter fentanyl, it’s found in heroin or being sold as heroin. But with the availability of pill presses, some dealers are using fentanyl to make pills that look like real pharmaceutical products such as oxycodone. 

    “If an individual buys pills off the street, there is really no assurance that what it says on the pill is really what they are getting because of the black market use of pill presses and other drugs,” Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force Director Tommy Loving said. “By buying pills on the street, it could actually turn out to be a fatal error in judgment.”

    The DEA has seized pills all over the country that look like one drug but in reality contain illegally produced fentanyl, Ingram said.

    “It’s really scary stuff with people making their own opioids and shipping them across the country,” he said.

    “What we’re seeing is a lot of fentanyl analogs as well. It’s not the same chemical compound you would find in pharmaceutical fentanyl. You don’t know what you’re getting, or how powerful it is,” Ingram said.

    Narcotics investigators in Warren County haven’t seen much of the drug, Loving said.

    “But we’re very much aware of it, and it’s dangerous,” he said.

    “It’s much more potent than heroin and there are different versions of it being manufactured. … A little bit of this powder, if you come into contact with it on your fingers or skin or happen to breathe a little bit of it, can be fatal. And we are looking into obtaining Narcan for all of our detectives in part due to this danger that they may now be exposed to,” Loving said.

    Narcan is a drug that counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose.

    South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force Director Jacky Hunt already has Narcan for his investigators, who unknowingly encountered the drug last year during an undercover drug buy. Officers thought the purchase was of heroin. 

    When Hunt received the lab testing results of the substance his agency bought, the drug turned out to be fentanyl instead.

    “My guys handled fentanyl and didn’t even know it,” Hunt said.

    The drug is most often seen with heroin in Kentucky or sold as heroin, Ingram said.

    Ingram’s office has written some grant requests to try to obtain Narcan for law enforcement in an attempt to save as many lives as possible, he said.

    — Follow Assistant City Editor Deborah Highland on Twitter at twitter.com/BGDNCrimebeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Cannabis

    7 Scientific Effects of Marijuana That Experts Want to Study | TIME


    The drug will be (slightly) easier to study

     

    What dosage or strains have the best use in medicine?
    Researchers say they want to know more about how much marijuana is needed to treat a person’s disorder, and for how long. “Like all drugs, FDA-approved therapeutics or recreational, marijuana will have some unwanted side effects,” says Sinai’s Hurd. In addition, researchers are still looking into what strains are most beneficial and whether a person needs the whole plant, or just one compound.

    Source: 7 Scientific Effects of Marijuana That Experts Want to Study | TIME

    States Where Marijuana Is Legal, Might Be Legal, and Isn’t Legal – 24/7 Wall St.


     

    As the country heads into the final three months of what may seem like an endless political campaign, voters in five states will get to have their say at the ballot box on whether or not marijuana for recreational use should be legal. The biggest noise comes from California, where a legalization measure was defeated […]

    Source: States Where Marijuana Is Legal, Might Be Legal, and Isn’t Legal – 24/7 Wall St.

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