Transparency News 5/11/18



May 11, 2018


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state & local news stories


The email to University of Mary Washington Blue & Gray Press editor Lauren Closs got straight to the point. The Student Finance Committee, which distributes money to UMW clubs, voted against the student-run newspaper’s request for $13,665.12 to print the weekly publication next school year. In other words, the print edition will be coming to an unceremonious halt after nearly 100 years in existence. “However, we have allotted you the $100 for the office supplies,” Student Finance Committee Chairwoman Alyssa Ruhlen added in her April 27 email to Closs. “If you have any questions feel free to reach out.” Assistant Dean for Student Involvement Melissa Jones, who advises the student-led Finance Committee, elaborated on the decision in another email obtained by The Free Lance–Star, citing the newspaper’s cost and unsatisfactory “distribution methods.” But Jones appears to contradict herself when she adds that students would be open to revisiting the print funding, “particularly after the task force to improve the quality of the publication has issued its recommendations.”
The Free Lance-Star

A body found Tuesday on Apple Mountain was confirmed by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office to be the missing 17-year-old Sarah Rose Genari. The Sheriff’s Office was vague on details, including the cause of death, citing the continuing investigation of the case as the reason for not releasing information.  Maxfield said the Sheriff’s Office would not release any information on the cause of Genari’s death because the matter remains under investigation. A news release states, however, “that this appears to be an isolated incident and there is no threat to public safety.” 
The Northern Virginia Daily


stories of national interest


A California man suspected of accessing and defacing numerous military, government and business websites, including that of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center and the New York City Comptroller’s Office, was arrested Thursday on computer fraud charges. Prosecutors believe that from 2015 through March 2018, Billy Ribeiro Anderson, under the online pseudonym AlfabetoVirtual, gained unauthorized access to computers and replaced publicly available content with the words “Hacked by AlfabetoVirtual,” “#freepalestine,” “#freegaza,” or some combination of the three. Hackers often claim responsibility for cybercrimes by adding their online pseudonyms to their defacements.
The New York Times

If Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer signs the latest budget bill passed by the Kansas legislature, Wichita State will have to open its student fees deliberations next year. The Kansas Legislature sent a budget bill to Colyer with an amendment that will require Wichita State, and five other regent universities receiving state funds, to hold open deliberations and provide access to documents related to student fees. If Colyer signs the bill, Wichita State, Kansas State, Kansas University, Emporia State, Pittsburg State, and Fort Hays State will have to follow the Kansas meeting act next year. Sen. Lynn Rogers (D-Wichita), who drafted the amendment, said in his research he found that the six regents universities collect about half a billion dollars in student fees. The requirement was originally written in response to The Sunflower and Wichita Eagle being denied entry to student fees deliberations this spring, Rogers said.
The Sunflower

Colorado lawmakers are poised to close public access to autopsy reports on minors, bowing to a request from county coroners who say disclosure of the records unnecessarily invades the privacy of families and encourages copycat teen suicides. Journalist associations and open government advocates argue that juvenile autopsy reports are important tools of transparency that help the public understand the circumstances of suspicious child deaths, hold the coroners accountable and allow for the discovery of serious flaws in the state’s child welfare system. But Senate Bill 18-223 passed the House on a voice vote Monday night, making the reports confidential and available only to certain parties. An amendment permits “any person” to petition a district court for access to a report “on the grounds that disclosure … constitutes a significant public benefit.”
The Colorado Independent