News

Don Blankenship Criminal Case
6:15 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Outlets Want Gag Order Lifted While Blankenship Wants to Change Trial Location

Credit Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship appeared Wednesday in US Federal Court in Beckley.

Judge Irene Berger heard arguments in two hearings in relation to Blankenship’s criminal case.  

One involved a motion to lift the broad gag order while the other requested more time to prepare motions and for trial.

Several media outlets including Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and NPR are challenging a gag order Judge Berger issued after former coal company CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on federal conspiracy charges.

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Oil and Gas Industry
1:45 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

New York Bans Fracking

Horizontal drilling pad at the Morgantown Industrial Park, where more horizontal drilling is slated for 2015.
Credit Northeast Natural Energy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will move to prohibit fracking in the state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

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Education
1:06 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Yes or No to Common Core? W.Va. Isn't Sure.

A box of the yellow t-shirts worn by many anti-Common Core citizens.
Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Common Core is an educational initiative that has been in news headlines lately due to some controversy surrounding it. At the State Capitol yesterday, Delegates, Senators, and public met on the House floor to hear from eight representatives either for or against Common Core.

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Chemical Spill
12:16 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Four Indicted for Elk River Chemical Spill

Credit AP

A grand jury has indicted four former executives of a chemical company on pollution charges in a spill that prompted a drinking water ban for 300,000 West Virginia residents.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday charges ex-Freedom Industries presidents Gary Southern and Dennis P. Farrell and two others with failing to ensure that Freedom operated the terminal that leaked in a reasonable and environmentally sound manner.  

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Mine Explosion Investigation
12:11 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Blankenship Wants Case Moved

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

A former Massey Energy CEO wants his criminal case moved and Jan. 26 trial delayed one year.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger heard requests Wednesday in Beckley in Don Blankenship's case.

Blankenship's attorney said he couldn't get a fair trial in southern West Virginia because of bad publicity.

Also Wednesday, Berger heard news organizations argue against a gag order, which they want dropped or modified.

The order restricts parties or victims from discussing the case with reporters or releasing court documents.

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WVU Athletics
11:36 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Oliver Luck Accepts Position With NCAA

  West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck is leaving WVU Athletics for a position with the NCAA.

Athletic Director Oliver Luck has accepted a newly created position of executive vice president of regulatory affairs with the National College Athletic Association effective January 15th. The Move was announced by WVU President Gordon Gee and NCAA President Mark Emmert.

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Coonskin Park Name Change
11:00 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Proposed Renaming of Coonskin Park Dropped

Credit http://www.kcprc.com

A Kanawha County parks official has dropped a proposal to rename Coonskin Park following a public outcry.

Retired state Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett tells media outlets he won't push something that the public doesn't want. He withdrew the proposal from the agenda for the commission's Thursday meeting.

Tackett is president of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission. He had said earlier that the park's name could be offensive to black residents.

Coonskin Park was built in 1950 in an area formerly called Coonskin Hollow. The name refers to raccoon pelts.

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Vienna Annexation
10:58 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Vienna to Annex former Johns Manville Plant Site

Credit SieBot / wikimedia Commons

Vienna officials plan to clean up a former Johns Manville plant site and redevelop it.

The Wood County Commission approved the city's petition to annex the property this week.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp says the city has applied for grants totaling about $400,000 to clean up the property.

Rapp says the city plans to convert part of the property to green space for public use, including walking and biking trails. City officials hope to attract new development to the industrial section.

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Charles Town
10:52 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Charles Town to Acquire Portion of Charles Washington Estate

Credit Fæ / wikimedia Commons

Charles Town plans to acquire 10 acres surrounding city founder Charles Washington's home, Happy Retreat.

The Journal reports that City Council approved a contract this week with the Friends of Happy Retreat. Under the contract, the city will pay $350,000 for the land and the nonprofit will pay $425,000 for the house and the remaining 2.2 acres.

Friends of Happy Retreat president Walter Washington says the transaction will give the public ongoing access to the estate.

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Infrastructure
10:49 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Judge Denies Morgantown Heavy Truck Traffic-Limiting Ordinance

Credit Safe Streets Morgantown / via Facebook

A municipal ordinance to limit heavy traffic through the downtown district of Morgantown has been declared “unenforceable” in Kanawha Circuit Court.

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Abuse Investigation
10:40 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Three More People Face Charges in Abuse Investigation

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

Three additional people face charges stemming from an investigation of abuse allegations at a center for developmentally disabled adults and children in Romney.

Hampshire County Magistrate Ron DiColia said Springfield resident Kevin Helms, Romney resident Jessica Carter, and Pennsylvania resident Justin Wright have each been charged with one count of failure to report abuse and neglect. The charge is a misdemeanor.

Helms and Carter have been released on bond. Wright is being transported to Hampshire County from Pennsylvania.

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Oil and Gas Industry
8:45 am
Wed December 17, 2014

More Fracking Slated in Morgantown

Morgantown Industrial Park
Credit Northeast Natural Energy

Amid much controversy, two horizontal gas wells were drilled into the Marcellus shale rock formation in 2011 just barely outside of Morgantown. Now two more wells are slated to be drilled on the same pad in the summer of 2015, but the company, Charleston-based Northeast Natural Energy is teaming up this time with a host of researchers.

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West Virginia Morning
7:50 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Researchers Will Monitor Morgantown Gas Drilling

On West Virginia Morning, a natural gas drilling company is teaming up with researchers as ti prepares to drill more wells near Morgantown.  Also, women are making their mark in the meat industry as butchers.

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Conflict of Interest
11:11 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Ex-Freedom President says Prosecutor Should Be Disqualified

Credit WOWK

The former president of Freedom Industries says U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office shouldn't prosecute criminal charges against him because its members were victims of the company's chemical spill.

Gary Southern's lawyers filed a motion Monday seeking the disqualification of Goodwin and his office's agents and investigators. The motion says they have a conflict of interest.

According to the motion, each charge against Southern is related to the January chemical spill that left 300,000 people without drinking water.

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Abuse Investigation
10:01 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Four Charged for Failing to Report Abuse at Center

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

Four people face charges stemming from an investigation of abuse allegations at a center for developmentally disabled adults and children in Romney.

Hampshire County Magistrate Ron DiColia says Jennifer Flores of Romney and Augusta residents Joseph Moreland Jr., Denny Timbrook and Katrina Phillips are each charged with failure to report abuse or neglect. The charge is a misdemeanor.

DiColia said Tuesday that all three remain free on bond.

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School Construction
9:36 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Nine Counties to Receive Funding for School Construction Projects

Credit http://www.wvs.state.wv.us/wvsba/

Nine counties will receive state funding for school construction projects.

The largest award, $1 million, will go to Berkeley County to add six classrooms to Potomack Intermediate School near Martinsburg.

Greenbrier, Wirt, Gilmer, Marion, Ohio, Fayette, Upshur and Lincoln will receive smaller grants for projects.

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Embezzlement Sentence
9:13 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Former Salem Official Loses Bid for Reconsideration of Sentence

A former Salem official has lost a bid to serve his embezzlement sentence under house arrest.

David Wayne Mayle is serving one to 10 years in prison. His attorney, Rocco Mazzei, had filed a motion in November asking a judge to consider house arrest.

The Exponent Telegram reports that Harrison County Circuit Judge John Lewis Marks Jr. denied the motion on Monday. Marks says in his order that the sentence is appropriate.

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Music
8:52 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Bill Withers in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Credit wikimedia commons

West Virginia native Bill Withers has been selected for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Withers grew up in Raleigh County.  He will be inducted in the 2015 ceremony along with fellow performers Ringo Starr,  Lou Reed, Green Day among others.

He was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2007. 

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West Virginia Morning
7:50 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Fayette Co. Business Owners Discuss Impact of Boy Scout Amendment

On West Virginia Morning, citizens in Fayette County speak out against the Boy Scout Amendment that passed in November.  They tell lawmakers that they fear the amendment will have a negative economic impact for businesses in the county.  And children’s advocates reveal their legislative wish list at the state capitol yesterday.

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Business
2:55 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Lawmakers Prepare to Craft Boy Scout Legislation

Raleigh County Airport Manager Tom Cochran addressed those gathered at the public forum in the Fayette County Courthouse.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance traveled to Fayetteville Monday evening to hear from area residents about their concerns about the financial implications of a newly approved Constitutional Amendment.

The amendment, which was approved in November by West Virginia voters with 62 percent of the vote, will allow the Boy Scouts of America to lease their Summit Bechtel Reserve to private organizations while maintaining their property tax exemption. 

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