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The United Steelworkers says it plans to meet with representatives of Mardi Gras Casino and Resort to try to head off a possible strike.

Members of USW Local 14614-F9 rejected the Nitro resort's insurance offer during negotiations Friday and authorized a strike. The negotiations began in early August.

On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra talks with NPR investigative reporter Howard Berkes and Charleston attorney Mike Hissam to review the charges against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship as his trial gets underway later this week.  That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Jonathan Bartels is a nurse working in emergency care. He says witnessing death over and over again takes a toll on trauma workers — they can become numb or burned out.

But about two years ago, after Bartels and his team at the University of Virginia Medical Center, in Charlottesville, Va., tried and failed to resuscitate a patient, something happened.

"We had worked on this patient for hours, and the chaplain came in and kind of stopped everyone from leaving the room," Bartels recalls.

AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File / AP

Once he was considered untouchable, but next week former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is scheduled to go on trial on conspiracy to violate mine safety standards and conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials charges. Blankenship denies the charges.

Those charges stem from an investigation that followed the Upper Big Branch Disaster that killed 29 men in 2010. It’s a trial that folks in the coalfields never thought would happen.

In this episode, we take a look back at how we got here and talk about the significance of this case.  You can also hear part of a special investigative series of reports about outlaw coal mining companies, that keep operating despite injuries, violations and millions of dollars in fines.

Veteran's Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, Marshall Pharmacy School
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

  McDonald, along with United States Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and Congressman Evan Jenkins, visited with Marshall University Medical School and Pharmacy students. McDonald says his goal was to increase access to health care for veterans and his way of doing that was to make a recruiting pitch. He wants the students to know about the opportunities available at VA hospitals around the country. He said VA hospitals and the doctors and researchers who work at them have done more than people realize. 

wikimedia commons

Officials in Huntington have lifted a health advisory along the Ohio River for algae that had turned the waters a bluish green.

The Cabell-Huntington Health Department said in a statement Thursday that residents no longer have to avoid contact with the river because the algae's presence has been reduced.


The former mayor of a Kanawha County town has pleaded guilty to oxycodone distribution.

Ex-Pratt Mayor Gary Fields entered the plea Thursday in federal court in Charleston.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

A federal judge has refused to dismiss one of two test cases that could potentially help settle thousands of similar lawsuits against chemical giant DuPont.

The complaint by an Ohio woman alleges the Delaware-based company knew the potentially dangerous risks posed by a chemical its plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, had been depositing into the Ohio River, but declined to inform the public.

On West Virginia Morning, poetry and music.  The state’s poet laureate Marc Harshman shares one of his poems with us.  And Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams have our Mountain Stage song of the week.  That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Blankenship Trial
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

On Monday April 5, 2010, an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, killed 29 miners. At the time, the mine was owned by Massey Energy, which federal regulators and a state funded independent investigation found responsible for the blast. Massey’s CEO was Don Blankenship.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

A federal judge has denied a motion from former Massey CEO Don Blankenship to delay his trial slated to begin October 1.

Judge Irene Berger issued the order Thursday.

Blankenship’s attorneys filed the motion to reschedule last week after receiving more than 70,000 documents from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office. Blankenship's attorneys said they needed more time to review the documents. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, West Virginia’s poet laureate, Marc Harshman, seems to thinks so.

He’s been collaborating with several organizations, including West Virginia Public Broadcasting, to conceive of new events that will bring more poetry to the daily lives of West Virginians.

Slick-o-bot / wikimedia Commons

STEM schools in West Virginia are set to receive $1 million in funding.

STEM Network schools will receive resources, including a $30,000 grant over three years and a STEM Coordinator Volunteer in Service to America to become demonstration sites for innovative STEM practices. The aim is to boost student achievement. The Education Alliance made the announcement Thursday.

Bed Bug
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / via Wikimedia Commons

Parents are being given the option of keeping their children home from a Charleston school the rest of this week after another bed bug sighting.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a teacher found a bed bug Wednesday in a classroom at Chamberlain Elementary School, and parents were allowed to come pick up their children.

Manchin Capito

Two West Virginia localities will share more than $1.1 million in funding for water infrastructure products.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito announced the Appalachian Regional Commission grants Wednesday.

Fairmont State University is planning two weeks of activities to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

The Sesquicentennial Celebration begins Oct. 11 and continues through Oct. 24.

Arch Moore
U.S. Government Printing Office / wikimedia Commons

The estate of three-term West Virginia Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr. is selling pieces of history and personal items at auction.

Behm's Auction and Real Estate Services held the first of a series of auctions for the estate on Tuesday at the Marshall County Fairgrounds. Other auctions will be conducted through October.

On West Virginia Morning, an interview with the leader of the research team West Virginia University that led to an emissions scandal at Volkswagen. That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Volkswagen was recently brought to its knees when scientists discovered the company had installed a device in its diesel-powered cars to fool emissions tests. Its stock price tanked, its reputation has been damaged and its CEO resigned on Wednesday.

So who made the discovery that sent the German car giant into a tailspin? A group of scientists at West Virginia University.

Brett Clashman / Wikimedia Commons

The 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg celebrates the official opening of its C-17 Training System Facility Thursday, September 24, 2015.

At this new training facility, C-17 pilots, loadmasters, and maintenance engine run technicians from the 167th Airlift Wing will receive a combination of classroom instruction and simulator training.