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New FEMA disaster recovery center opens in St. Albans

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New FEMA disaster recovery center opens in St. Albans


ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The newest disaster recovery center to be opened by FEMA is located on Washington Avenue at the Hansford Senior Community Center in St. Albans.

Less than a month after President Biden issued a major disaster declaration for West Virginia, Deputy Disaster Recovery Manager James Young said FEMA has already made a great financial impact on homeowners and renters seeking assistance for severe weather damages that occurred from April 2-6.

“We’ve now awarded over $1.7 million in assistance and that’s with over 1,200 registrations.”

More than 500 people have already registered for FEMA in Kanawha County, so the disaster recovery center was moved to St. Albans.

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Young said, “We started off in Tyler Mountain, next we’ll be moving on to St. Albans at the Hansford center and then go to Dunbar so, every week we will rotate between the three locations just to make sure that if you can’t get there one day or it’s not the most convenient, there’s access for everybody who’s impacted.”

While homeowners can apply for disaster assistance for structural damages to their properties, other parts of a residence or private property — not covered by insurance — can also be repaired or replaced under FEMA programs.

“Let’s say you receive some damage to a private road on your property or your septic system or maybe a well, there’s a chance FEMA could offer you some assistance. That’s why it’s so important to always stop by one of our disaster recovery centers like the one in St. Albans that way you can get that one-on-one contact,” said Trey Paul, a FEMA media relations specialist.

The St. Albans location will remain open until June 14, and FEMA says the goal is to help as many survivors as possible.

Survivors can apply in person at one of the disaster recovery centers, online at disasterassistance.gov, the FEMA app, or call 1-800-621-3362.

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Virginia

John Force hospitalized following engine explosion in Virginia eliminations

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John Force hospitalized following engine explosion in Virginia eliminations


NHRA legend John Force was involved in a serious incident at the conclusion of his first round of eliminations for the Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. Force had defeated Terry Haddock but the engine blew spectacularly in his Funny Car as he crossed the finish line. The car then crossed the centerline, striking both guard walls before coming to a stop.

According to a statement from the NHRA, the 75-year-old 16-time champion was alert and examined on-site by the NHRA medical team before being transferred to a local medical facility for further evaluation.



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Amani Jenkins Commits To Virginia Tech

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Amani Jenkins Commits To Virginia Tech


Amani Jenkins is the second top-100 player in the class of 2025 to commit to Virginia Tech. (Nick Brown)

Virginia Tech and Megan Duffy received a commitment from Amani Jenkins on Sunday.

A 6-foot-2 forward from Johnston, Iowa, ESPN lists her as the No. 82 overall prospect in the country. She’s the second pledge in the Hokies’ 2025 class, joining Watauga, N.C., guard Kate Sears, whom ESPN ranks 85th.

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Jenkins originally committed to Marquette last October when Duffy was the head coach but reopened her recruitment after the coaching change. Less than three months later, she committed to Tech after visiting.

She’s the third former Golden Eagle pledge to flip to the Hokies, joining class of 2024 recruits Leila Wells and Kayl Petersen. Jenkins, who plays for ETG Midwest Elite 3SSB on the AAU circuit, held other offers from Cal, Providence and UNLV.

With the addition of Jenkins, the Hokies have 11 scholarship players for the 2025-26 season. Here’s the program’s future scholarship breakdown:





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Va. proposed changes to African American history course, documents show

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Va. proposed changes to African American history course, documents show


Virginia’s education department proposed dozens of revisions to an elective course on African American history, striking some references to white supremacy and systemic racism among other changes, documents show.

A spokesman for the state education department said the review is still ongoing, and no changes have been implemented yet. But some professors involved in the creation of the earlier curriculum are concerned that the proposed revisions would dilute some of the topics and language explored in the course if implemented.

The department has not publicly released the proposed changes, which were submitted last August. The review was revealed in public records obtained by watchdog group American Oversight and shared with The Washington Post.

The proposed revisions were part of a review of whether the African American history elective complied with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order banning “inherently divisive concepts” from the classroom.

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“The elective course is a comprehensive exploration of African American history, with a specific focus on African American history in Virginia, and fully discusses all aspects of African American history in its entirety — both good and bad,” education department spokesman Todd Reid said in a statement.

The order, which Youngkin announced after he took office in 2022, has previously been used to remove a number of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. It also was the basis for his administration’s short-lived “tip line” for parents and students to report teachers accused of teaching “divisive” concepts.

But the order has been used sparingly since. Last year, Youngkin cited it to call for a review of an Advanced Placement course on African American studies shortly after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made headlines when his administration rejected the course. The state later said the AP course did not violate the executive order.

But a similar review was also conducted of the African American elective course, the records obtained by American Oversight show. The group filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking records of all policies that were ended, materials that were removed, and changes made to the state’s curriculum under the executive order. The African American history course revisions were the only new changes proposed since February 2022 in the documents.

The proposed revisions are an example of how political decisions have the potential to impact classroom content. The documents show that the review offered more than 40 suggestions to the curriculum outline and course content. Many proposed changes focused on language, like changing the term “racism” to “discriminatory practices.” Others were more substantial, like striking a definition of “Black joy” and removing lessons on implicit bias and equity.

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“White supremacy and institutional racism does not exist according to this document,” said Derrick Lanois, an associate professor of history at Norfolk State University who helped to develop and implement the course when it was introduced in 2020. The Post shared the proposed revisions with Lanois and several other scholars.

Proposed changes to the course content outline

• Interactions that took place between Blacks and Whites in early colonial America, before chattel slavery and the birth of White privilege

• Interactions that took place between Blacks and Whites in early colonial America, before chattel slavery and the birth of White privilege

• Race and racism
• Implicit bias and stereotypes
• Hierarchy
• Bias and stigmas
• Establishing rules and norms

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• Race and racism
Implicit bias and stereotypes
• Hierarchy
• Bias and stigmas
• Establishing rules and norms

• Impact of White supremacy as social control of African Americans

Replaced with: Impact of the Eugenics movement on the social structure of Virginia

• The War on the persistence of institutional racism

Replaced with: The Persistent War on Racism

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*Chart is based on a document of proposed revisions to the African American History elective course map.

Reid, the education department spokesman, said the course was reviewed under the executive order by professional staff on the department’s history team. They reviewed its compliance not only with the Youngkin order but with new history standards approved in April 2023.

Other state guidance and documents were reviewed under Youngkin’s Executive Order 1 in February 2022. Reid said he did not know why the African American elective course was not reviewed at that time but said that at some point in 2023 VDOE leadership realized the course needed to be examined.

The African American history elective course was announced in 2020 under Gov. Ralph Northam (D). It was developed by VDOE in partnership with Virtual Virginia, WHRO Public Media, and committees of history and social science public school educators, university historians, and college professors. The course launched in a limited number of school districts during the 2020-21 school year, then later expanded.

According to Reid, 45 divisions now offer the high school course in 89 schools with about 1,700 students enrolled.

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Reid told The Post earlier this month that the revisions would be implemented for the 2024-2025 school year. But later he said he discussed it further with VDOE leaders, who said the course review was still ongoing. He emphasized that none of the revisions have been adopted.

Reid called the African American course a “unicorn” as the only elective course developed by the state. As such, he said there is no standard process, timeline or next steps for the review.

The changes to the elective come after the state was embroiled in controversy for revisions to its history standards, and as there have been efforts and legislation across the country to limit what schools teach about topics such as race, racism and sexuality in the classroom.

While revising its history standards last year, a process that happens every seven years, the education department was criticized for “whitewashing” history after it rejected a version of the standards developed under Northam and proposed an alternative that critics said placed less emphasis on marginalized groups. The document also included errors such as a characterization of Indigenous people as “immigrants,” and omitted references to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth holidays.

Examples of proposed changes to course learning objectives

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• explore the early colonial laws of Virginia to draw conclusions and make inferences regarding the rise of racism in America using institutions, such as slavery, as the mechanism of enforcement.

• explore the early colonial laws of Virginia to draw conclusions and make inferences regarding the rise of racism discriminatory practices in America using institutions, such as slavery, as the mechanism of enforcement.

• analyze and explain the impact of how coming home to White supremacist customs and laws affected World War II veterans

• analyze and explain the impact of how coming home to White supremacist customs and laws how discriminatory practices affected World War II veterans

• investigate and understand that the University of Virginia was an institution on the forefront of the Eugenics movement and that the Commonwealth used this pseudo-science to control African Americans.

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• investigate and understand that the University of Virginia was an institution on the forefront of describe the Eugenics movement and that the Commonwealth used it this pseudo-science to control African Americans.

• develop questions about the modern-day impact redlining continues to have on African Americans.

• develop questions about the modern-day impact redlining continues to have had on African Americans.

*Chart is based on a document of proposed revisions to the African American History elective course map.

Chioma Chukwu, interim executive director of American Oversight, said the records about the proposed changes to the elective course “show the same pattern of attempts to whitewash and erase America’s legacy of racism that we’ve seen in other states, like Florida. While those in power have supposedly sought to shield students from ‘divisive concepts,’ it is clear that such measures are about protecting partisan interests and not about protecting children,” Chukwu said in a statement.

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Other historians and experts contacted by The Post who helped develop the elective course’s curriculum said they were not aware of the proposed changes but raised concerns about some of the suggestions “sanitizing” the language of the course.

Lanois said he was struck by how many references were changed to broader terms like “discriminatory practices.” He said the proposed revisions seemed to downplay the role that the United States and Virginia played in racism, rather focusing on individual acts of racism.

One revision suggested changing a learning objective in the course from “Investigate and understand that the University of Virginia was an institution on the forefront of the Eugenics movement and that the Commonwealth used this pseudo-science to control African Americans.” to “investigate and describe the Eugenics movement and that the Commonwealth used it.”

In another instance, the curriculum references a quote from King calling “White moderates” a “great stumbling block” in the fight for equality. A proposed revision suggests changing the language from “White moderates” to “those moderates.”

Stephanie Richmond, an associate professor of history at Norfolk State University who also helped develop and train teachers on the course, said it seemed like VDOE staff was trying to maintain the spirit of the course while complying with the executive order. But she said the broader challenges to curriculum happening around the country are especially concerning.

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“I think it’s really a disturbing trend that infringes on the academic freedom of educators … to teach what they see as important,” Richmond said.

When asked about the criticisms, Reid emphasized that no changes have been adopted.

The course, Reid said, “is a whole picture, both good and bad, of the history here in Virginia and nationally. It does not shy away from anything.”



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