News

State Revenues
9:25 am
Wed March 4, 2015

W.Va. Officials Say State Faces Deficit of $80 Million

Credit Flickr / davidwilson1949

State officials say West Virginia could end the fiscal year $60 million to $80 million in the red.

February revenue collections were about $5.4 million below estimates for the month. That increased the total shortfall for the fiscal year to more than $47 million.

The fiscal year ends July 1.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow tells media outlets that revenue collections for the remainder of the fiscal year would have to be at least 9.7 percent higher than last year's revenue collections. He says that's unlikely.

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Beckley Historic District
8:56 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Beckley Historic District, Others on Endangered List

Credit Tim Kiser / wikimedia Commons

Beckley's historic district and two other sites are on the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's latest endangered properties list.

The other sites are a farmhouse built around 1845 in Mount Nebo and a service station built in 1945 in Fayetteville.

Executive director Danielle LaPresta tells The Register-Herald that the preservation group normally works with individual properties. But she says Beckley's entire national historic district is in eminent danger because of neglect, demolitions and inappropriate development.

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Online Research
10:37 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Wiki Gender Gap to Be Discussed in Morgantown

Credit By File:We_Can_Do_It!.jpg: J. Howard Miller, artist employed by Westinghouse, poster used by the War Production Co-ordinating Committee derivative work: Tom Morris (This file was derived from: We Can Do It!.jpg:) [Public domain] / Wikimedia Commons

Where Are All the Women? Wikipedia’s Gender Gap” That’s the name of a panel discussion that will be hosted at West Virginia University. 


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Common Core
9:48 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Senate Committee Proposes Extended Deadline for Common Core Repeal

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael MArtirano speaks to a Senate Education Subcommittee about the impacts of repealing Common Core standards.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Senators continue to move on a bill that would repeal Common Core standards in the state Tuesday by proposing amendments during an Education subcommittee meeting.

House Bill 2934 was approved over the weekend by the House of Delegates and called for a total repeal of the math and English standards by July 1, 2015.

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Poverty
8:32 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

W.Va. Woman Joins Fight Against Extreme Poverty in Africa

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) meets Monday, March 2 with Maegan Ramirez, Jasmine Flores and other advocates from the ONE Campaign, an organization founded by Bono, to discuss protecting life-saving accounts in the budget and The Electrify Africa Act. O'Rourke looks through a 1950s-style View-Master, which contains a series of memes on the importance of these programs.
Credit Ron Sachs

A Morgantown woman is representing West Virginia in an international effort to fight extreme poverty in Africa. Jamie Williams was inspired by her faith and her previous volunteer work to take up the cause. 

Williams is a West Virginia University alumna. She made her first lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., in February for the ONE Campaign Summit. Co-founded by U2’s Bono, the ONE Campaign is an international group working to end extreme poverty and disease. Williams was in D.C. to urge members of Congress to take up the Electrify Africa Act.

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The Legislature Today
6:43 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Warriors and Veterans to Agriculture Seeks Legislative Funding

At the legislature today, bills to repeal West Virginia’s educational standards and loosen up the state's campaign finance laws were up for discussion in the senate.    These stories and more coming up on The Legislature Today.

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Legislature
6:06 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

One-Day Alcohol Permits & Elk Restoration in the House

Credit CommonsHelper2 Bot / wikimedia commons

In the House Tuesday, a bill to reintroduce elk to the state was passed and a bill allowing non-profit organizations a one-day permit to sell alcoholic beverages to fundraising events.

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Oil & Gas
4:41 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

USGS Needs More Data to Assess Water Impacts Around Gas Development

Credit U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey says more data and research are necessary to best understand the potential risks to water quality in areas with unconventional oil and gas development.

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Energy & Environment
1:40 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Company Proposes Building Two Gas-Fired Power Plants in W.Va.

The Moss Landing Power Plant in California. According to the Energry Information Administration, West Virginia does not currently have any natural gas-fired power plants in operation.
Credit David Monniaux / wikimedia Commons

A company plans to spend about $1 billion to build two natural gas-fired power plants in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle.

The State Journal reports that the Brooke County Commission approved a memorandum of understanding for the project on Tuesday.

Energy Solutions Consortium LLC plans to build a 750-megawatt plant and a 550-megawatt plant on the former Wheeling Corrugating property in Beech Bottom. The property will be purchased from the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle.

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News
12:23 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Justice Says Coal Operations Buyback Includes Liabilities

Credit Scott Halleran / Getty Images

Billionaire Jim Justice says his buyback of coal mining operations in West Virginia includes some big liabilities.

Justice completed the $5 million acquisition of Bluestone Inc. from Russian mining and metals company Mechel OAO last month. He had sold Bluestone's mining operations to Mechel in 2009 for $436 million in cash and more than $83 million in preferred shares.

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Developing
10:03 am
Tue March 3, 2015

House Overrides Veto on Abortion Bill

Credit Flickr / davidwilson1949

For the first time in more than twenty years, members of the legislature are on their way to overturning a gubernatorial veto.

According to Speaker Tim Armstead's office, the last time such a vote was taken was in 1987 under the late Governor Arch Moore.

The two thirds vote of both chambers overturned his decision on a portion of the 1988 budget, but lawmakers this year have a slightly different situation on their hands as they consider a vote to overturn the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Update March 4, 2015, 4:55 p.m.:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael said the Senate did not receive the House of Delegate's message of a vote to override the governor's veto before their morning floor session preventing them from taking up the bill Wednesday.

Carmichael said the chamber, however, is under no time crunch to reconsider House Bill 2568. Members of the Senate have until the final day of the session, March 14, to consider a veto override.  

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West Virginia Morning
8:16 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Charter Schools and Common Core Up For Debate

On this West Virginia Morning, Common core and charter schools were up for discussion yesterday and we will bring you the latest on developments in the house.

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Public Education
9:51 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

W.Va. Senate Clears Bill to Create Charter Schools

Sen. Ed Gaunch during a morning floor session. In the afternoon, Gaunch spoke strongly in favor of allowing charter schools in West Virginia.
Credit Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate approved a bill Monday evening that allows for the creation or conversion of a public school to a public charter school in West Virginia.

A public charter school is a school that uses government funding, but is not overseen by the county Board of Education, giving the school's administrators and teachers more flexibility in how they deliver education. The schools, however, are subject to state education standards. 

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Higher Education
6:50 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

West Liberty Faculty Vote No Confidence in President Capehart

West Liberty University President Rob Capehart

The West Liberty University faculty senate has voted no confidence in President Robin Capehart, who is facing an ethics complaint.
 
The vote Monday was 13-6, according to media reports.
 
The vote follows a complaint in January by the West Virginia Ethics Commission alleging Capehart used university resources to promote his film company's movie "Doughboy."
 

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Public Education
6:36 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Senate Begins Debate Over Common Core Repeal

Credit Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

Members of the West Virginia Senate began discussing a bill Monday that, if approved, would repeal Common Core standards in West Virginia. The legislation passed the state House of Delegates Saturday.

House Bill 2934 calls on the West Virginia Department of Education to repeal the Common Core standards adopted in 2010 for math and language arts. It then requires the board, along with the state Department of Education, to draft new standards.

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The Legislature Today
6:23 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Senate Studies House Bill to Repeal Common Core Education Standards

At the legislature today, there’s a deadline looming.  By Wednesday at midnight, all the senate bills must be reported to the house and all the house bills reported to the senate.  It makes for long lists of legislation to be considered on both floors.  The house today passed a bill that keeps the Future Fund, an account created by Democrats last year, unfunded.   And we’ll talk about the state budget with the Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy coming up on The Legislature Today.

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Legislature
5:23 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

House Passes a Bill Hoping to Tackle Truancy Problems in Schools

Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As we enter the last two weeks of this legislative session, both chambers are pushing though large quantities of bills before time runs out. And Monday in the House, fourteen bills were passed. Of those, lawmakers approved a piece of legislation that attempts to tackle the issue of truancy in West Virginia schools. It would extend the number of unexcused absences a student can have before the court system intervenes. But first, here are two other bills Delegates approved Monday.

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News
4:12 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Court in Va. Hears Media's Gag Order Appeal in Blankenship Case

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

A lawyer for five media organizations has urged a federal appeals court to toss out a gag order in former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's criminal case.

Blankenship was CEO when the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia exploded in 2010, killing 29 men. He's charged with conspiring to violate safety and health standards.

The Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, NPR, The Associated Press and other news outlets are appealing U.S. District Judge Irene Berger's gag order in the case. 

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Health & Science
1:05 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

WVSU, United Arab Emirates University Partner on Health Conference

Credit Steve Shaluta / W.Va. Department of Commerce

West Virginia State University is partnering with the University of Sharjah on an international health conference.

The "Solutions for Better Life" conference will be held Nov. 15-19 at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

West Virginia State said Monday in a news release that participants will include world health experts and high school and university students from 100 countries. The goal is to identify innovative solutions to global health problems.

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Industry
12:47 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Governor Adds Pleasants County to Polymer Alliance Zone

  Pleasants County has joined an organization that promotes West Virginia's plastics and polymer industries.

An executive order signed recently by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin added Pleasants County to the Polymer Alliance Zone. The organization also serves Mason, Jackson and Wood counties.

Pleasants County Development Authority executive director J. McGoldrick says in a news release that the authority and the Polymer Alliance Zone will cooperatively market the county to plastics and polymer companies.

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