News

From the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety:

Last year, West Virginia’s fire departments responded to over 8,500 fires. Over 4,000 of these fires occurred in residences, where most fire deaths take place.
 

Overview of Cranberry Glades and Cranberry Wilderness, Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia
Jaknouse / wikimedia Commons

Hunters and anglers who use the Monongahela National Forest will have to avoid a large area while timber is being harvested.
 
     The U.S. Forest Service and the state Division of Natural Resources say they'll have to steer clear because of safety concerns while helicopters move logs.
 
     The work was set to begin Friday and could last as long as six weeks, depending on weather.
 

Huntington Prep Website

One in five West Virginians are seeing a reduction in food assistance, Downstream Strategies takes a critical look at the water-use data provided by natural gas drillers in the past couple years to the state Department of Environmental Protection, and Huntington Prep's basketball team enters their season with high expectations.

Downstream Strategies

The Marcellus water resources and water footprint report takes a critical look at water-use data provided by natural gas drillers over the past couple years to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection—data operators are required to provide under the Horizontal Well Control Act of 2011.

Thomas J. Piccard
AP

A prosecutor says the former police officer who sprayed a courthouse in West Virginia with bullets expressed hatred for the federal government in writings found at his home and on his body.
 
     U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Thursday that 55-year-old Thomas J. Piccard expressed his hatred in writings found after the Oct. 9 shooting at the federal courthouse in Wheeling.
 
     Ihlenfeld wouldn't provide further details. But he says Piccard's hatred of the government was one of three factors that contributed to the shooting.
 

An automatic reduction to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, will begin taking effect today, cutting benefits for more than 47 million people across the country. 

West Virginians rely heavily on this assistance program, with about 20 percent of the population enrolled.

A Kanawha County man who is already struggling to provide for his family said this national cut means he will have to make even harder choices in the near future. 

Huntington Prep Website

   

 High school basketball powerhouse Huntington Prep tipped-off its fifth season last night in Huntington.

Rob Fulford grew up in Mullens, West Virginia. A town known for its basketball prowess to those involved with the sport around the state. Its home to the D’Antoni family and former Marshall great and current Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni and others like Jerome Anderson who had a short stint in the NBA.

Judge Michael Thornsbury
Associated Press

A Delbarton man convicted of selling drugs to a sheriff is seeking his release from prison until a judge hears a petition in his case.
 

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

An industry trade group has launched a campaign in West Virginia opposing legislation that would require prescriptions for medications containing pseudoephedrine.
 
     Pseudoephedrine is also used illegally to make methamphetamine.
 
     The Consumer Healthcare Products Association began running ads this week on Charleston-area news websites. The group also has set up a website called Stop Meth, Not Meds, a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
 

The company that published Crapalachia by West Virginia writer Scott McClanahan is venturing into film and one of their first projects will be based on the legend of a Greenbrier County woman murdered in 1897.

An automatic cut to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp benefits, will begin taking effect Friday impacting the bottom line of nearly 300,000 West Virginians. That means the average family of three’s benefits will be cut by $29, or 16 meals, a month based on numbers from the U.S. Agriculture Department. The Washington Post has more on how these cuts will impact not just West Virginians, but struggling families across the country.

Submitted Photo / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Today is All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, which traces its roots to Gaelic culture when it was believed on this day the boundaries between the living and dead overlap.

It's also a great day to read a ghost story, which is why Berkeley Springs writer John Douglas made sure his new book, A Fog of Ghosts: Haunted Tales and Odd Pieces, was published this month.

Douglas is the former editor of the Morgan Messenger newspaper and he started writing ghost stories in the mid 1970’s. Every year he’d pen one for the paper’s Halloween edition.

The Soul of a Company Store

Oct 31, 2013
Whipple Company Store
wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

This Halloween morning we conclude a three-part story about the haunted history of Whipple Company Store in Fayette County, W.Va. The spooky stories told there go beyond typical ghost tales and towards a horror that bleeds into reality. So far, we’ve heard two stories that point to forced sexual servitude on the part of women who lived in the coal camps around Whipple. Esau scrip was allegedly issued to women whose husbands were out of work - a kind of loan in which the women’s very bodies were the collateral.

   A new study argues that America doesn't have 200 years worth of coal left like many believe, Berkley Springs writer John Douglas talks about his book A Fog of Ghosts: Haunted Tales and Odd Pieces, and the conclusion of the Halloween-themed mini series The Soul of a Company Store.

WDTV

The Allegheny County Medical Examiners Office has confirmed the identities of three of the five people who died in an Elkins house fire this week.

Forensic Supervisor Anthony Bofo says 29-year-old Alan Chamberlain died Tuesday night at the West Penn Burn Center outside of Pittsburgh.

His 2-year-old daughter Brianna Chamberlain and her half-sister, 11-year-old Catherine Bolgar, also died there Tuesday.

Brianna's twin and a 4-year-old sister died at an Elkins hospital, but the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s Office has not yet released their names.

Colleen McMahon/CS_McMahon

A princess, a superhero, a monster, or a ghost. No matter what you’re child has chosen to don on Halloween this year, as a parent safety is a top priority. Here’s a list of the top ten safety tips for you and your child this holiday:

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

A study released Wednesday says minable coal will run out much sooner than expected. The report comes from an environmental organization and the author claims it’s science based and not politically driven.

The report is published by Clean Energy Action, Colorado based environmental organization that works to push the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources.  

Provided

A judge called the inner workings of the Gene Spadaro Juvenile Center “concerning” after receiving a report from a court monitor for the Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Review Commission.

The Commission was established in June of 2011 to examine the operations and programs of the Division of Juvenile Services facilities across the state. Cindy Largent-Hill is a member of the commission and visited the Spadaro Juvenile Center in Fayette County Monday.

What was the Esau scrip?

Oct 30, 2013
Whipple company store
wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

Now we return to the second of a three-part story about the haunted history of the Whipple Company Store in Fayette County. The store was built at the turn of the 20th century as West Virginia coal miners began agitating to bring the union to the southern coal fields, and is now operated as a museum of coal camp life.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The economic outlook for West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle over the next five years looks good according to West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

The state has added about 3,000 jobs since the middle of last year according to this year’s Outlook report. John Deskins, Bureau director, presented the outlook for the Eastern Panhandle to a ballroom full of business leaders from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties gathered at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn, beginning with a look at the statewide forecast.

Whipple company store
wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

A look at the economic outlook for the Eastern Panhandle, juvenile detainees testify on the conditions of the centers where they're being held, and the second part of a series of ghostly stories on the Whipple Company Store.

A federal judge issued a memorandum Tuesday in a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to finalize federal coal ash regulations.

United States District Judge Reggie B. Walton issued a ruling giving the Environmental Protection Agency 60 days to name how long it will take to review and revise coal ash regulations. 

Provided

Judge Omar Aboulhosn heard what may be the last evidence in the case filed by Mountain State Justice against the Division of Juvenile Services.

Mountain State asked three juvenile residents to testify in an evidentiary hearing Tuesday in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

B.M., identified only by his initials for the court, is a juvenile resident of the Sam Perdue Juvenile Center in Princeton. He is one of the 25 residents relocated after Aboulhosn order the closure of the Harriet B. Jones Treatment Center in Salem over the summer.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

A widow is battling for black lung benefits of her dead husband.  Mary Fox filed an appeal on behalf of her late husband Gary Fox last year. Testimony before a federal appeals court began today in Virginia.

The hearing comes the same day stories from a yearlong investigation by the Center for Public Integrity revealed lawyers with the Jackson Kelly law firm submitted only favorable evidence in court.

Between the years 2000 to 2010, over 55,000 work-related diseases were reported. Of those, more than 26,000 were noted as cases of Pneumoconioses, diseases in which dust, such as coal, causes scarring of the lungs. The Center for Public Integrity's investigative team takes a look at one of the coal industry's top legal firms and the withholding of evidence related to the matter.

Ghostly stories from the Whipple Company Store

Oct 29, 2013
Whipple company store
wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

Built during a time of labor strife in the southern coalfields, the Whipple Company Store in Fayette County is one of those buildings that just LOOKS haunted. Every Halloween, the owners offer tours full of history, folklore, and ghost stories. Producer Catherine Moore set out to do a fun piece about the reported paranormal activity at the store with a couple of local ghost hunters. Well, she got more than she bargained for and found out that there’s a lot more to the so-called hauntings, and to the history of the store, than meets the eye.

Breaking down the Consol-Murray sale

Oct 29, 2013

Consol Energy is selling five of its long wall coal mines in West Virginia to Murray Energy. It’s a deal slated to cost more than $3 billion.

In the deal, Consol will get:

$850 million in cash;

Almost $200 million in value of future payments;

The acquisition of $2.4 billion in Consol's liabilities, to Murray Energy.

In return,

Murray Energy will receive:

Almost 4,000 new employees;

6 more coal preparation plants;

5 more active mining complexes;

6 more longwall mining systems;

23 more continuing mining units;

West Virginia's two U.S. senators say they'll be watching closely to see how Ohio-based Murray Energy treats safety and the workforce of the five CONSOL Energy mines it's buying.
 
     Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller have requested a meeting with Murray Energy to discuss the transition.
 
     The companies announced the deal Monday for the sale of the Blacksville No. 2, Loveridge, McElroy, Robinson Run and Shoemaker mines.
 
     Pennsylvania-based CONSOL said it wants to shift resources to natural gas development.
 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

CONSOL Energy sells five longwall mines to Murray Energy, the families of Upper Big Branch Mine victims speak out against a Halloween attraction at King's Dominion, and the first in a series of Halloween stories on the Whipple Company Store.

In 1960, then-Senator and Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy visited McDowell County, West Virginia and forged a bond with those living in the state's southern coalfields. It was a victory in West Virginia's Democratic primary that helped confirm his broad appeal to the rest of America. After winning the presidential election, Kennedy exposed the rest of the country to the perils of poverty that faced the region. In this article, USA Today reports on the way Kennedy's assassination has resonated with those living in southern West Virginia, the way things were then, and how they are now.

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