News

Elkins
10:02 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Elkins Man Charged in Courthouse Bomb Plot

An Elkins man faces an explosives charge stemming from an alleged plot to bomb a federal courthouse.

Thirty-year-old Jonathan Schrader is charged in a criminal complaint with possessing and storing stolen C4 plastic explosives. The FBI filed the complaint this week in U.S. District Court in Wheeling.

FBI special agent Lawrence Quigley says in an affidavit that a witness told investigators Schrader had discussed detonating plastic explosives in front of the Jennings Randolph Federal Center in Elkins.

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West Liberty
9:57 am
Thu February 19, 2015

West Liberty Committee to Discuss Complaint Against President

Credit http://westliberty.edu/

West Liberty University's Board of Governors is expected to meet soon to discuss its options regarding an ethics complaint against the school's president.

Media outlets report that the board's executive committee met behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss the complaint against West Liberty President Robin Capehart. Board chairman George Couch says the board's legal counsel gave the committee an update. He didn't provide details.

Couch says the full board likely will hold a special meeting in the next week to 10 days.

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Weather
9:32 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Safety Tips for Cold Weather

Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  Bitterly cold temperatures and dangerously low wind chills are forecasted for throughout the state over the next 24 hours. West Virginians are urged to take precautions.
 
The severe winter conditions bring the threat of hypothermia and frostbite from prolonged exposure. Unsafe efforts to stay warm, meanwhile, can lead to fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
 
Experts advise the following:
 
·        Stay indoors during such extreme winter weather. When venturing outside, dress in layers and limit skin exposure.

 

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West Virginia Morning
8:37 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Senate Debate Flares Over Civil Lawsuits

With safe crude oil transportation on everyone’s minds, Dave Mistich sat down with Peter Goelz a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board. We also take a look at some activity on the Senate floor that took place over a bill to cap damages for certain lawsuits.

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Legislature
6:59 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Senate Committee Advances Bill to Expand Broadband Access

Sen. Chris Walters.
Credit West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee took up a bill Wednesday that its sponsor says will create a government owned broadband interstate in West Virginia.

Senate Bill 459 calls on the state to invest $78 million in expanding broadband access to West Virginians. The money would pay for the installation of 2,600 miles of broadband fiber across West Virginia with an emphasis on expanding access in rural areas.

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Train Derailment
6:52 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Rail Cars Are Being Removed from Derailment Site

Credit Courtesy of Mike King

Multiple state and federal agencies have combined to establish a unified command in response to the West Virginia Train Derailment near Mount Carbon on the Kanawha River on Monday. 

Capt. Lee Boone, Federal On Scene Coordinator for the West Virginia Train Derailment said the top priorities for response personnel remain the safety of the community and responders, and mitigating the impact to the environment.

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The Legislature Today
6:32 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Legislature Considering Who Can Make Smoking Regulations

At the legislature today, there’s Senate action on a bill we learned about last night to invest 78 million dollars in broadband development.  And the House quietly passes a flurry of bills on the floor today ranging from early childhood education to rules for barbers and hair stylists.  We’ll talk with the Chair and Vice Chair of the House committee that oversees barbershops and hair salons, among other things, on The Legislature Today.

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Q&A
5:30 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Former NTSB Official: ‘Everybody’s Got To Do Better’ With Crude-By-Rail Transport

Peter Goelz, Senior Vice President at O’Neill and Associates, is also a former Managing Director of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

After Monday's CSX train derailment in Fayette County, attention has turned to a national discussion regarding the safety of crude-by-rail transportation.

Peter Goelz is a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board. His responsibilities at the NTSB included leading the day-to-day operations of the agency and serving as chief policy advisor to the chairman. He is now senior vice president of O'Nell and Associates, a firm offering government relations and communications services related to a variety of industries, including transportation.

You can stream audio of an interview with Goelz  or read highlights below:

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Legislature
5:13 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

House Passes Bill Transferring Children's Health Insurance Program Operations to DHHR

Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Since it was created by the legislature in 1998, the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP has covered thousands of children and teens under age 19. 

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Ginseng
4:48 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Can Ginseng Help Diversify W.Va.'s Economy? Part II

  When you hear the word “ginseng” you might think about a wild plant that grows in the hills of Appalachia … and you would be right, that’s the good stuff. But there’s another way ginseng grows that’s a little less wild. Basically, we’re talking about ginseng farming in the forest, which can yield roots as valuable as the wild stuff. So is it a viable business for West Virginians? Well, there are some rules and regulations that might be hindering growth, but experts say there are ways to promote the industry.


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Danny Webb Construction
3:50 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

DEP Postpones Public Hearing Concerning Lochgelly Waste Site, Again

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is rescheduling a public hearing on two permit renewal applications for the second time. The public hearing is around applications for an underground injection control (UIC) facility near Lochgelly in Fayette County. 

In an email, the DEP said the meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19 in Oak Hill has been postponed a  due to inclement weather conditions.

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Legislature
2:56 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Bill Capping Punitive Damages Voted Down

The final vote on the punitive damages bill.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia senators have voted down a proposal to cap punitive damages from civil lawsuits in the state.

On Wednesday, two Republican senators broke party lines to help Democrats kill the measure in a 16-18 vote.

The proposal would have capped punitive damages from lawsuits at $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages, whatever is greater.

Republican Sens. Chris Walters and Daniel Hall voted against the bill alongside Democrats.

The bill was one of several legal reforms being pushed by the newly minted Republican legislative majority.

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Legislature
2:52 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Senate Passes Bill so Lawmakers Can Ok State Carbon Plan

Credit Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

West Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill letting the Legislature approve state plans to meet proposed federal carbon emission standards.

Senators passed a proposal 24-10 Wednesday requiring the GOP-led Legislature's vote before the state sends compliance plans to the Environmental Protection Agency. It requires a state feasibility report 180 days after EPA's rule is finalized.

The House passed a similar bill Feb. 6.

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Coal Company
11:53 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Justice Buys Back Coal Company

Credit usatoday.com

Billionaire Jim Justice has reacquired coal mining operations in West Virginia that he sold to Mechel OAO in 2009.

The Russian mining and metals company said Wednesday that it has closed on a deal to sell Mechel Bluestone Inc. to a company owned by the Justice family.

The company says in a news release that the deal includes an immediate $5 million cash payment and coal royalty payments of $3 per ton. Mechel also would receive a portion of any future sale of Mechel Bluestone or its assets.

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Train Derailment
11:51 am
Wed February 18, 2015

West Virginia Oil Train 1 of 3 that Recently Derailed with Tank Cars Meeting Safer Standards

Credit Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

  The fiery derailment of a train carrying crude oil in West Virginia is one of three in the past year involving tank cars that already meet a higher safety standard than what federal law requires — leading some to suggest even tougher requirements that industry representatives say would be costly.

Hundreds of families were evacuated and nearby water treatment plants were temporarily shut down after cars derailed from a train carrying 3 million gallons of North Dakota crude Monday, shooting fireballs into the sky, leaking oil into a Kanawha River tributary and burning down a house nearby. It was snowing at the time, but it is not yet clear if weather was a factor.

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Government Theft
11:06 am
Wed February 18, 2015

W.Va. Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Gov Money

A former U.S. Forest Service employee faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing government money.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II says 41-year-old Kwaku A. Akomah of Fairmont also faces a fine of up to $250,000.

Ihlenfeld says Akomah made unauthorized personal purchases with government funds, including buying more than $1,000 in gas for his personal vehicle. An investigation by the Forest Service revealed the purchases.

Akomah pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of theft of government money.

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Nick Saban
10:59 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Highway May be Named After Saban

Credit RammaJammaYellaHamma / wikimedia Commons

  West Virginia lawmakers may name a highway after University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Senators have introduced a resolution to name a section of Route 19 in Marion County after Saban, who 

 grew up in the area. It would be dubbed the "Nicholas Lou 'Nick' Saban, Jr., Expressway."

Saban, Alabama's coach since 2007, grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Saban's Alabama teams clinched national championships in 2012, 2011 and 2009. He led Louisiana State to a share of the title in 2007.

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Cross Lanes Casino
10:31 am
Wed February 18, 2015

W.Va. Supreme Court Says Jury Should Hear Casino Case

Credit Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

The West Virginia Supreme Court says a jury should decide whether a man was trespassing when he strayed off the sidewalk and injured himself at a Cross Lanes casino.

It reverses a Kanawha County judge's decision to dismiss the lawsuit, ruling that the man was trespassing when he left the sidewalk and fell off a 6-foot retaining wall.

In 2013, David Ragonese filed a lawsuit against the Racing Corporation of West Virginia, which does business as the Mardi Gras Casino.

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News
8:13 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Senate Bill 6 Passes

On this West Virginia Morning, we bring you the latest on Senate Bill 6 which aims to cap liability for nursing homes and was up for passage yesterday, as well as an interview with Delegate Ron Walters.

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The Legislature Today
6:26 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Like Father, Like Son in the W. Va. Legislature

At the legislature today, yesterday's train derailment in Fayette County was the subject of two floor speeches in the Senate. One came with a stern reminder about water safety. And this year West Virginia's legislature contains both a father-daughter and father-son team of lawmakers. We'll meet one pair tonight on The Legislature Today.

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