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Coal production from mines using mountaintop removal has decreased 62% from 2008 to 2014.  That figure was released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Agency.  Taylor Kuykendall, coal reporter for SNL Energy, an on line news service, says the coal industry is facing a perfect storm.  Low demand, federal regulations, competition from natural gas and pressure from campaigns against the mining practice from environmental groups have all taken their toll.  We spoke with Taylor Kuykendall about the news.


On West Virginia Morning, everyone will have a chance to review and comment on the state’s education standards on a new website.  Ashton Marra has that story.  And Liz McCormick reports on the All Good Music Festival which is returning to West Virginia today.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Radio news – telling West Virginia’s story.


Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc. has told 292 workers in Virginia and Kentucky they are losing their jobs.

tldef.org/ / Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

 West Virginia is now letting transgender people more easily change their gender on their driver's licenses and wear makeup and other accessories while taking license photos.

The switch follows a similar change to the license photo policy in South Carolina, where motorists can now dress how they identify themselves in their licenses. That state's adjustment was required by a lawsuit settled in April.

West Virginia Department of Education

After the announcement of a comprehensive review earlier this year, West Virginia parents, teachers and concerned citizens are now being asked to evaluate the state’s education standards.

The West Virginia Department of Education launched “West Virginia Academic Spotlight” Wednesday, a five month review of the state’s Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives. The first step in that review is an online public comment period.


Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia regulators have asked Appalachian Power to maintain infrastructure at a closed coal-fired power plant that could be used to convert the facility to natural gas in the future.

The Public Service Commission says in a Tuesday order that fully demolishing the Kanawha River Plant would rule out such a conversion.

CREDIT U.S. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY CHIEF PETTY OFFICER ANGIE VALLIER

CSX plans to discuss the cleanup of an oil-train derailment at a public information meeting this month in Glen Ferris.

The Charleston Daily Mail says the meeting is scheduled for July 21 at the Glen Ferris Inn.

DNR

Officials say a West Virginia man had been keeping two deer in captivity at his home for at least a year.

Officer Joshua Addesa with the state Division of Natural Resources says authorities discovered the two white-tailed bucks when they visited the Cabell County man's home on July 4 after receiving a tip from a concerned citizen.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Parkersburg officials have dropped a plan to delay business and occupation tax cuts required by the state's home rule law.

Mayor Jimmy Colombo tells the Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the city will comply with an opinion from theWest Virginia Attorney General's Office.

Jessica Lilly

Food deserts are a growing problem in West Virginia and across the country. The USDA defines a food desert as a part of the country where people don’t have access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. Parts of more than 40 counties in West Virginia endure some sort of limited food access and the number is growing as more and more grocery stores close their doors. But when the grocery store in one Greenbrier County town closed, the community worked to find local resources with hopes of becoming self-sufficient.


On West Virginia Morning, when a grocery store closed in a Greenbrier County community, citizens decided to open their own.  The story on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Radio news – telling West Virginia’s story.


Steve Clancy / Flickr

Is Harvard University is keeping out qualified Asian-American applicants in the interest of racial diversity? That’s what is alleged in a lawsuit.

On The Front Porch, a Yalie, a Harvard man and our resident intellectual from Marshall debate whether colleges should use race during admissions.

Are Appalachian students are at a disadvantage or advantage when they apply to selective schools? Perhaps a little bit of both.

Former industrial sites in Huntington will soon be getting a facelift thanks to federal grant dollars awarded to the city.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced grants totaling $400,000 for the city of Huntington Tuesday as a part of the agency’s brownfields program. A brownfield in a former industrial or commercial site prohibited from development because of environmental contamination. The grants will allow the city to clean up multiple industrial sites including a property that sits on 3rd avenue just down from Marshall University’s campus.

AllVoices.com

Members of the U.S. Senate will soon consider a bill that could affect the pension and healthcare benefits of nearly 28 thousand retired West Virginia coal miners.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

The West Virginia Joint Committee on Government and Finance says WorkForce West Virginia has failed to turn over more than 50 emails and other important documents, including ones that show efforts from outside interests to influence the development of the prevailing wage rate methodology.

http://www.premierbankinc.com/

Premier Financial Bancorp says it plans to acquire First National Bankshares in a deal worth about $26.5 million in cash and stock.

Huntington-based Premier announced a definitive

   agreement to acquire Ronceverte-based First National on Tuesday in a news release.

An aerial view of downtown Parkersburg.
Yassie / wikimedia Commons

A national group says Parkersburg City Council is violating the law by saying the Lord's Prayer before public meetings.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has asked the council to discontinue the prayer.

On West Virginia Morning, two stories about reflections on the Confederate flag.  Reporter Jessica Lilly attended a high school in Mullens, Wyoming County.  The school’s mascot was a Rebel and the rebel flag was a school symbol.  And Roxy Todd talks with a family of three generations in Elkins who share their thoughts about the flag.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, telling West Virginia’s story.


Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Shepherdstown is a little place with a lot of history. Harpers Ferry and the Antietam battlefield are literally down the road. The tiny downtown has Civil War era brick buildings filled with mom n’ pop restaurants and shops. But there’s a kind of counterculture side to the town, too.

Locals can be seen playing live music on the street with a cup of coffee or tea in hand - maybe even wearing tie-dye. And there’s a big demand for local, organic foods including a local favorite - a restaurant called Mellow Moods.

2bgr8 / http://2bgr8stock.deviantart.com/art/Money-Cash-113445826

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced more than one million dollars in federal grants Monday for projects aimed at stopping violence against women.

The Stop Violence Against Woman Act Program Grants will support 28 projects across the state that establish or help groups already fighting violence against women in West Virginia. The grants will help pay for new personnel and provide training and assistance for those establishing groups or enhancing their organization.

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