JCP Week in Review, November 3 - VIDEO

Jared Bentley • Updated Nov 3, 2017 at 1:48 PM

It has been quite a busy week for news on the national scene, as the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia made public its first indictments on Monday, ensnaring Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates. The two face charges of conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, and several other financial charges.


Things got more serious when it was revealed that another Trump advisor, George Papadopoulos, has likely been working as an agent of the FBI for the past several months in order to evade charges of his own.

Once that bomb dropped, the administration went into crisis mode, and the White House distanced themselves completely from the three. Trump also suggested the real story of collusion with Russia is the sale of uranium to Moscow when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, opening a completely new stream of communication, and cries for a separate investigation.

While all this was going on, former Democratic party chairperson Donna Brazile also piled on the wagon, claiming that the DNC had made a deal with Clinton's campaign in August of 2015 to clear up the party's debts from the coffers of her campaign chest and the Clinton Foundation.

"This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity," says Brazile. If true, she is exactly right, and the accusations of rigging the outcome are as true as Bernie Sanders supporters claimed they were during the process.

While all this is going on, the Republican led Congress has a huge tax bill that they claim is tailored to benefit America’s middle class, but is being met with a lot of doubts and questions. Many claim that the real winners from the tax plan are the extremely wealthy, as the plan’s biggest cuts will go to corporations, rather than the average family.

The plan is expected to undergo plenty of changes, and continue to face opposition as it moves along.

With all of these scandals and arguments dominating the national scene, it would take something horrible or amazing to remove them from the front page. As you can guess, we experienced the horrible.

Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov, a Muslim immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 2010, rented a truck and sped down a bike path on a riverfront esplanade in Manhattan for nearly a mile Tuesday, running down cyclists and pedestrians, before crashing into a school bus. He was shot after he jumped out of the vehicle brandishing two air guns and yelling “God is great!” in Arabic, they said. Knives were found in a bag he was carrying.

Saipov has claimed an allegiance with the Islamic State, and ISIS has confirmed that he is a “soldier” in their war against everything decent in the world. The attack took the lives of eight people, five of them were from Argentina, one from Belgium, and two Americans, authorities said. Twelve people were injured.

All of these stories continue to evolve, and to get more in depth analysis and background, you can read about them in the Johnson City Press.

On Monday, Virginia Department of Health Commissioner Marissa Levine officially approved a cooperative agreement permitting the merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System into Ballad Health. This follows on the heels of Tennessee already allowing the merger to take place.

There were stipulations put in place by the Commissioner’s decision ranging from pricing governance, financial commitments, participation in a regional information exchange, employment policies, and facility operations, among many others.

To learn more about the restrictions and the process, read Zach Vance’s article on our website.

We end today on a positive note, one that also centers around our regional health system.

In the midst of the region’s opioid crisis, many infants have been born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, experiencing withdrawal from drugs used by their mothers before giving birth.

Because of this growing crisis, Mountain States Health Alliance has been working to introduce and expand new programs to help infants born with NAS at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

At the kickoff of this year’s Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon fundraiser, Michael and Nancy Christian of Johnson City felt moved to donate $100,000 to the Families Thrive Program, designed to help these children by encouraging good practices for infant care and providing support for families after they leave the hospital.

We’ve all seen the effects of opioids in our community, as well as communities nationwide, and I applaud the Christians for their donation and involvement to help those in need. I hope I get to report more stories like this in future video installments.

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