Friday, June 6, 2014

Gloucester, VA Bos's Christ Hutson: Second Conflict of Interest Vote?

Inappropriate Actions
During the May 20, 2014 Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Chris Hutson voted to approve the Terrapin Cove Sewer Extension project.  Part of the project entails installing public sewer along Laurel Drive at Gloucester Point at a cost of $773,638.  The vote was 4 in favor of the project and 3 against it.  The following information was obtained from the Gloucester County online property database and is for property on Laurel drive that is owned by Mr. Hutson’s father and mother in-law
Owner Address:
PO BOX 122
RPC #: 32740
Physical Location:
Magisterial District: Gloucester Point
Tax Map #: 051C 5 C 5
Chris Hutson should have abstained from voting on the Terrapin Cove sewer project in accordance with Commonwealth of Virginia Conflict of Interest laws.  Without publicly disclosing his family relations to a project area property owner, Chris Hutson not only voted for the project, he also acted as the primary public body advocate during the design, review and procurement processes.  Shortly after the BOS meeting this information was brought to the attention of all of the Supervisors via an email message.  After the email notification was sent it was further realized that Chris Hutson’s father in-law has served on the Gloucester Public Utilities Advisory Committee since 2004 and was reappointed for another four year term by Mr. Hutson in 2012.  The appearance alone screams inappropriate.
During the June 3, 2014 BOS meeting the Terrapin Cove project was brought back to the floor for further discussion by Supervisor Ashley Chrisco, on the premise that funding is now uncertain due to the Commonwealth not yet approving its budget.  The Terrapin Cove project is not a Commonwealth funded project and the County’s ability to fund it has been uncertain from the beginning.  The BOS voted to delay the project start up and to pull funding from it until the Commonwealth approves its budget.  The Supervisors then directed that a certified letter be sent to each property owner within the project area asking the owners for a binding commitment to hook up to the sewer system if the project moves forward.  This and other steps should have been accomplished before money was spent to design the sewer expansion. 
Does this area of the County need public sewer?  I don’t think so but admit that it could be arguable.  At issue here is the conflict of interest vote made by Mr. Hutson and the efforts taken in the June 3rd BOS meeting to cover it up.  Does Gloucester County really want politicians who are self serving, not forthcoming and who have no conscious when it comes to spending hard earned tax dollars?  The answer is an emphatic NO.  The three newest Supervisors are the ones who initially voted against the project and did so with stated justifications.  These three seem to be working very hard to do what is in the best interest of the County as a whole; the other four should join them.   
During the June 5, 2014 BOS and Planning Commission meeting Chris Hutson encouraged citizens and business owners to bring instances of improprieties related to construction inspections to the BOS attention so they can be looked into.  How can he make such a hypocritical statement after voting on a project that he or his spouse “may realize a reasonably foreseeable direct or indirect benefit or detriment from?”
We the people of Gloucester County deserve much more from our elected officials.  I encourage my fellow citizens to express their opinions on this matter and to remember these types of behaviors when election season returns.  Just remember; Political Parties do not make a good government, good people do.
Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr.
Gloucester Point

Our Notes:  Mr Hutson voted yet again despite what looks like a clear conflict of interest.  Even if it were the correct vote to reverse the earlier decision, he still should have abstained from the vote.  Nothing much other than non funding the sewer extension was corrected, but instead, was compounded.  Once was too much, twice is just a complete violation of the public trust and a slap in the face to every citizen within the county.  Exactly why is Mr Hutson serving on the board other than to possibly personally financially gain by doing such?   That is just "NOT" sound government.
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Kalmar Nyckel In Yorktown This Weekend, June 6th - 8th, 2014

(Photos copyright:  Chuck Thompson of TTC Media, All rights reserved.)

The incredible Kalmar Nyckel is in town this weekend over at the Yorktown Riverwalk dock.  A superb sailing museum depicting the colonial era of America.  The ship will be here from Friday evening through Sunday evening.  Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PPM the ship will be available for free deck tours.  In other words, you are welcome to board the main deck of the ship and take a real steo back in time to view what life was like for settler's coming to the new world.

  There will be evening sailing tours along the York river for those who wish to purchase a ticket.  Adult prices are $60.00 each and children under 17 is $40.00 per person.  Voyages last 3 hours and start at 4:00 PM.  Maximum number allowed per tour is 49 guests.  Reservations are required.  Please call; 302-429-7447 for more information about the Kalmar Nyckel.  Visit them at  
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Prescription Painkillers Tagged as Gateway Drug to Heroin

Seal of the United States Office of National D...Seal of the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy, a part of the Executive Office of the President. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Dr. Mercola
According to a recent report commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control Policy,1 as many as 1.5 million Americans were chronic heroin users in 2010. Such statistics add further fuel to concerns about rising narcotics abuse and drug-related deaths.
Over the past five years alone, heroin deaths have increased by 45 percent2--an increase that officials blame on the rise of addictive prescription drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, codeine, and Fentora, all of which are opioids (derivatives of opium).
According to Gil Kerlikowske, director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy,3 approximately 100 Americans died from drug overdoses each day in 2010.
Prescription painkillers were responsible for 16,600 deaths that year, and heroin was involved in about 3,000 deaths. (Meanwhile, cocaine use decreased by about 50 percent between 2002 and 2010.)
The reason for the resurgence of heroin is in large part due to it being less expensive than its prescription counterparts, and US officials now warn that narcotic painkillers are a driving force in the rise of substance abuse and lethal overdoses. According to the US Justice Department, prescription opiates and heroin are two of the most lethal substances available.

Prescription Narcotics—A Driving Force in Rising Substance Abuse

This connection finally received some media attention following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman,4 a 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor. He died from heroin overdose on February 2. Last year, Hoffman entered rehab when addiction to prescription painkillers led him to switch to heroin.
US Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced his office is taking steps to address the problem head-on. This effort includes5 but is not limited to tracking drug overdose trends, educating health care professionals and the public about prescription drug abuse, and promoting programs shown to prevent such abuse.
The federal government will also require manufacturers of extended-release and long-acting opioids to provide prescribers with educational programs explaining the risks and benefits of opioid therapy, and how to select appropriate candidates for such therapy. Also, as reported by Reuters:6
"As part of that campaign, Holder reiterated the Obama administration's call for more law enforcement agencies to train and equip personnel with an overdose-reversal medication called naloxone... Holder said 17 states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, a blocking agent that can reverse the effects of an overdose and help restore breathing."

Doctors Are the Primary Opium Pushers of the 21st Century

According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine,7 while most opioid drug abusers obtain the drug from a friend or relative, (23 percent pay for them; 26 percent get them for free), individuals who are at greatest risk for drug abuse are just as likely to get theirs from a doctor's prescription.
Previous drug abuse prevention programs have primarily focused on those who get their hands on opioids without a prescription. You may recall ads from previous years promoting the safe storage and disposal of prescription medication.
But such efforts have completely missed those at greatest risk for a drug overdose, i.e. those who use such drugs per doctor's orders. Twenty-seven percent of the highest-risk users get their drugs from their doctor even when they're using the drug nonmedically for 200 or more days per year... CDC Director Tom Frieden M.D., M.P.H recently echoed the study's authors when he said that:8
"Many abusers of opioid pain relievers are going directly to doctors for their drugs. Health care providers need to screen for abuse risk and prescribe judiciously by checking past records in state prescription drug monitoring programs. It's time we stop the source and treat the troubled."
Another JAMA study9 notes that, of the drug overdose deaths occurring in Tennessee between 2003 and 2010, more were caused by prescription drugs than heroin and cocaine combined. Incredibly, between 2007 and 2011, one-thirdof the population of Tennessee filled at least one prescription for an opioid each year... According to the authors:
"High-risk use of prescription opioids is frequent and increasing in Tennessee and is associated with increased overdose mortality. Use of prescription drug–monitoring program data to direct risk-reduction measures to the types of patients overrepresented among overdose deaths might reduce mortality associated with opioid abuse."

Doctors Are Prescribing More Sedatives Than Ever

In related news, preliminary research10 presented at the 2014 meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona found that 12.6 percent of all primary care visits made by Americans between 2002 and 2009 involved prescriptions for sedatives and/or narcotic painkillers (opioids). The study also found that:
  • The number of prescriptions for sedative drugs rose by 12.5 percent a year
  • Patients receiving a narcotic painkiller were 4.2 times more likely to receive a second prescription for a sedative
  • The number of joint prescriptions of opioids and sedatives also increased by 12 percent a year in that time frame
  • Prescription sedatives and narcotic painkillers are responsible for at least 30 percent of narcotic painkiller-related deaths
  • Besides deaths caused by overdose, other risks associated with sedative use include falls in the elderly, emergency room visits, and drug dependence
According to co-author Dr. Ming-Chih Kao, a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University Medical Center:11 "Doctors need to be better educated about the risks of combining the two medications, and there needs to be better coordination between those who prescribe narcotic painkillers (often primary care doctors or pain specialists) and those who prescribe sedatives (often primary care doctors or psychiatrists)."

FDA Clamps Down on Painkiller Prescriptions, But Approves New Pure Hydrocodone Product

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently recommended tighter controls on painkiller prescriptions,12, 13 and has announced its intention to reclassify hydrocodone-containing painkillers from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug. The drug schedule system classifies medications based on their potential for abuse and addiction, as well as other medical criteria. The reclassification will affect how hydrocodone-containing drugs can be prescribed and refilled. Doctors will only be allowed to prescribe a 90-day supply of the drug per prescription, and they will no longer be permitted to phone in refills. 
Rather, the patient has to bring the prescription with them to the pharmacy. The new regulations are expected to take effect sometime this year. Ironically enough, while talking about the need for stricter controls and less addictive painkillers, it recently approved the first drug containing pure hydrocodone for the US market, called Zohydro ER (Zogenix). All other hydrocodone-containing painkillers on the market are mixed with other non-addictive ingredients.

Prescription Medications Are the New Gateway Drugs

Many are still under the illusion that prescription drugs are somehow safer than street drugs, but it's important to realize that prescription medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone are opioid derivatives—just like heroin. Heroin is actually diacetylmorphine and much stronger than morphine. A perfect example of this nonchalance can be seen in statistics14 showing that more than 14 percent of pregnant women are prescribed opioid drugs during their pregnancy...
As explained by Dr. Wilson Compton,15 deputy director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone "are all classified as opioids because they exert their effect by attaching to the opioid receptor found in our brain and spinal cord."
They also create a temporary feeling of euphoria, followed by dysphoria, which can easily lead to addiction. Some people end up taking increasingly larger doses in order to regain the euphoric effect, or escape the unhappiness caused by withdrawal. Others find they need to continue taking the drugs not only to reduce withdrawal symptoms but to simply feel normal. Opioids also depress your heart rate and breathing. Large doses can cause sedation and slowed breathing to the point that breathing stops altogether, resulting in death.16

13 Non-Drug Solutions for Pain Relief

Considering the risks, I strongly recommend exhausting your options before resorting to a narcotic pain reliever. I believe thereare better, viable alternatives. If you are suffering from pain, whether acute or chronic, I recommend working with a knowledgeable health care practitioner to determine what's really triggering your pain, and then address the underlying cause.
Remember, along with exposing you to potentially deadly risks, medications only provide symptomatic relief. They do NOT address the underlying cause of your pain. The following options provide excellent pain relief without any of the health hazards that prescription (and even over-the-counter) painkillers carry. So if you're in pain, try these first, before even thinking about prescription painkillers of any kind.
  1. Eliminate or radically reduce processed foods, grains, and processed sugars from your diet. Avoiding grains and processed sugars will lower your insulin and leptin levels and decrease insulin and leptin resistance, which is one of the most important reasons why inflammatory prostaglandins are produced. That is why stopping sugar and sweets is so important to controlling your pain and other types of chronic illnesses.
  2. Optimize your production of vitamin D by getting regular, appropriate sun or safe tanning bed exposure, which will work through a variety of different mechanisms to reduce your pain.
  3. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a drug-free approach for pain management of all kinds. EFT borrows from the principles of acupuncture, in that it helps you balance out your subtle energy system. It helps resolve underlying, often subconscious, negative emotions that may be exacerbating your physical pain. By stimulating (tapping) well-established acupuncture points with your fingertips, you rebalance your energy system, which tends to dissipate pain.
  4. Astaxanthin is one of the most effective fat-soluble antioxidants known. It has very potent anti-inflammatory properties and in many cases works far more effectively than anti-inflammatory drugs. Higher doses are typically required and one may need 8 mg or more per day to achieve this benefit.
  5. Ginger: This herb has potent anti-inflammatory activity and offers pain relief and stomach-settling properties. Fresh ginger works well steeped in boiling water as a tea or grated into vegetable juice.
  6. Curcumin: In a study of osteoarthritis patients, those who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility.17 A past study also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the overproduction of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.18
  7. Boswellia: Also known as boswellin or "Indian frankincense," this herb contains specific active anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is one of my personal favorites as I have seen it work well with many rheumatoid arthritis patients.
  8. Bromelain: This enzyme, found in pineapples, is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can be taken in supplement form but eating fresh pineapple, including some of the bromelain-rich stem, may also be helpful.
  9. Cetyl myristoleate (CMO): This oil, found in fish and dairy butter, acts as a "joint lubricant" and an anti-inflammatory. I have used this for myself to relieve ganglion cysts and a mild annoying carpal tunnel syndrome that pops up when I type too much on non-ergonomic keyboards. I used a topical preparation for this.
  10. Evening Primrose, black currant, and borage oils: These contain the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is useful for treating arthritic pain.
  11. Cayenne cream: Also called capsaicin cream, this spice comes from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body's supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
  12. Methods such as yoga, Foundation Training, acupuncture, meditation,19 hot and cold packs, and other mind-body techniques can also result in astonishing pain relief without any drugs.
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Governor McAuliffe Statement on the Passing of Raymond H. Boone

English: The state seal of Virginia. Српски / .... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Governor McAuliffe Statement on the Passing of Raymond H. Boone

Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today following the passing ofRichmond Free Press founder, editor and publisher Raymond H. Boone:

“Raymond Boone was a singular figure in the history of journalism and politics in Virginia. His was a life devoted to justice, equality and a well-informed public discourse, and I know that commitment will live on thanks to his leadership at the Richmond Free Press. Dorothy and I are keeping Raymond’s wife Jean and all of their family and friends in our prayers today as we mourn the passing of a true Virginia legend.”
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Governor McAuliffe Announces Leadership and First Meeting of Railroad Safety and Security Task Force

Location in VirginiaLocation in Virginia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Richmond, VA – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran and Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne will co-chair the interagency Railroad Safety and Security Task Force, and that the panel will conduct its first meeting on June 4th, 2014 at 1:00pm at the Virginia State Capitol Building in Senate Room 3.

“This task force is an important step toward ensuring that Virginia is doing everything it can to keep our railroads and the communities around them safe, and that we are prepared to respond to incidents like the derailment and fire in Lynchburg earlier this month,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I have asked Secretaries Moran and Layne to bring our public safety, transportation and environmental protection agencies together to investigate what happened in Lynchburg and make recommendations of how Virginia can work with the federal government to keep our communities and our natural resources as safe as possible.”

The Railroad Safety and Security Task Force will include representatives from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP), the State Corporation Commission (SCC), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the Virginia State Police (VSP). The task force will solicit input from industry stakeholders, local governments and members of the public and produce a report of recommended state and federal actions to prevent railroad accidents and ensure that Virginia is prepared as possible to keep communities safe in the case of a future incident.

“Last month’s incident in Lynchburg could have been much worse, but local, state and federal responders worked together to keep the public safe and clean up the wreckage as soon as possible,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “I want to thank Governor McAuliffe for forming this task force to ensure that every corner of Virginia is as prepared to act in the case of another accident as Lynchburg was, and that we are working with our federal partners to keep another incident like this from happening again.”

Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne continued, “Virginia’s railways are critical to the commerce and trade of the entire nation, and operating them safely should be priority one for the Commonwealth and our federal and industry partners. This task force is our opportunity to increase interagency cooperation, solicit public input and formulate recommendations to keep our railways and adjacent Virginia communities and resources as safe as possible.”

Governor McAuliffe announced his intention to form the Railroad Safety and Security Task Force earlier this month while touring the site of the April 30th train derailment and fire in downtown Lynchburg, VA
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Governor McAuliffe Announces Selection of Virginia for School Broadband Pricing

Internet Access Here SignInternet Access Here Sign (Photo credit: Steve Rhode)
Governor McAuliffe Announces Selection of Virginia for School Broadband Pricing Project
Goal to Lower Costs and Increase Bandwidth for School Divisions

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia has been selected to participate in a pilot project to help school divisions lower the cost of high-speed Internet access and increase digital learning opportunities for students.

EducationSuperHighway (ESH) — a San Francisco-based non-profit dedicated to improving Internet access in schools — selected Virginia because of the commonwealth’s leadership in digital learning and because of data suggesting that Virginia schools are paying more than the national average for Internet access and network connectivity.

According to ESH, average monthly megabits-per-second costs for Virginia school divisions are $26 for Internet access and $7 for network connectivity, compared with respective national averages of $22 and $3. ESH data also indicate that the percentage of Virginia schools with less-than-ideal access and bandwidth exceeds the national average.

“Ensuring that all Virginia communities have equal and affordable access to broadband technology is a critical component in developing a 21st Century Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. "I am grateful that EducationSuperHighway has selected Virginia for this important project which will use transparency to drive down broadband costs and provide greater opportunities for innovative learning in classrooms across the Commonwealth.”

“Virginia is leading the nation in the effort to lower school broadband costs across the state," said Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway. "We are thrilled to partner with Governor McAuliffe to ensure that all of Virginia's students have access to high-speed Internet for 21st-century learning."

School divisions are using an ESH online portal to report detailed information by the end of August on Internet access and broadband pricing.  After analyzing the data, ESH will produce a comprehensive report in early 2015 on access and pricing for all participating school divisions.

“School divisions will have the ability to compare and evaluate prices across the state and determine whether they are getting their money’s worth in access and bandwidth,” Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson said. 

Working with the secretary of technology, Secretary of Education Anne Holton and the Virginia Department of Education, ESH will identify factors and practices driving up costs for school divisions and provide technical assistance to school divisions on cutting costs by promoting transparency, encouraging competition, and identifying new service options.

“Every student in Virginia deserves access to high-quality digital content,” Secretary Holton said. “Our strategy for closing achievement gaps must include a concerted effort at both the state and local levels to make sure that slow connection speeds and inadequate networks don’t bar the way.”   

EducationSuperHighway says the broadband pricing project will include two states, with the second state being named later this summer.

Last month, ESH and the Washington-based Consortium for School Networking called on the Federal Communications Commission to increase federal E-rate funding for schools and libraries by $800 million annually to support much-needed improvements to wireless networks. E-rate provides subsidies to school systems and libraries through fees paid by telecommunications companies. 
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