News

Audit
4:18 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

WVSU President's Expenses Include NFL Tickets, Alcohol

Credit West Virginia State University

  The State Auditor's Office recently flagged as suspicious charges on a state travel card that included Chicago Bears football tickets, alcohol and other purchases that typically aren't allowed.

The Charleston Gazette says these purchases were allowed because the travel card belonged to West Virginia State University President Brian Hemphill.

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3:38 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Start-Ups, Organizations Take on America’s Food Waste Challenge

Lead in text: 
According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in America goes uneaten. Barbara Hartman is a registered dietician and works as the chief of nutrition and food service at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Her mission? To reduce food waste. Mona Iskander of PBS NewsHour reports on how new businesses have emerged to help kitchens reduce food waste while turning a profit.
  • Source: Pbs
  • | Via: PBS NewsHour
BARBARA HARTMAN: These are food scraps. Rather than putting them in the trash, I'd rather put them in my compost area. MONA ISKANDER: Barbara Hartman is a registered dietician who lives in rural West Virginia. She grew up appreciating the value of food. BARBARA HARTMAN: I don't like to waste food.
Chemical Leak
4:02 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Governor Tomblin Orders Freedom Industries to Dismantle All Above-Ground Storage Tanks

Credit C. W. Sigman

  West Virginia's governor has ordered the company at the center of a chemical spill that tainted the water supply for the state capital to begin the process of removing all above-ground storage tanks from the Charleston operation.

A statement released Saturday by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office says Freedom Industries must start the dismantling process by March 15.

The Jan. 9 spill at Freedom Industries contaminated the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians.

The order to dismantle and properly dispose of the tanks also includes associated piping and machinery. The facility currently has 17 tanks.

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1:18 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Bumbling, Blame and Bankruptcy in Wake of West Virginia Chemical Spill

Lead in text: 
The web of Freedom Industries' ownership is complicated and their recent bankruptcy filing is likely to be as well. This article from BillMoyers.com attempts to unravel what's playing out, who's involved, and the impact it might have.
Last Friday, as lawsuits piled up over the chemical spill that left hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents without potable water for days, Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the leak, declared bankruptcy. The filing set off a battle between several private companies trying to avoid liability for the damages suffered by West Virginians.
Utilities
12:48 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Some Water Customers Complain of High Bills

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

  Some customers of West Virginia American Water are questioning why their bills went up even though they didn't use their tap water for several days after a chemical spill.

Harry Machado of Winfield tells The Charleston Gazette that his latest bill was about 40 percent more than the previous one.

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Inside Appalachia
8:12 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Pa. Chemical Tank Laws Tougher Than W.Va., Ky. Community Promised Better Housing, and more

Pennsylvania is comparing regulations for above ground storage tanks after the spill in West Virginia.

While some residents in a Kentucky community are using unique strategies to oppose a strip mine, others are looking forward to the mine opening.

One school in West Virginia is working to meet the needs of all deaf and blind students.

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The Legislature Today
7:01 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Capitol Reporters Dave Boucher & Jonathan Mattise on Chemical Leak Remediation, Freedom Bankruptcy

The Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources continues to hear testimony about the ongoing investigation into the January 9 chemical  spill. The House of Delegates wonders how proposed legislation would affect the Department of Environmental Protection financially and statehouse reporters Dave Boucher of The Charleston Daily Mail and Jonathan Mattise of The Associated Press discuss the latest on Freedom Industries' bankruptcy filing and the remediation of the Elk River spill site. 

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House of Delegates
4:18 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

House Finance Committee Asks Questions About Chemical Leak During DEP Budget Hearing

DEP secretary Randy Huffman presents the budget to the House Finance Committee.
Credit Aaron Payne

Cabinet Secretary of the West Virginia DEP Randy Huffman presented the proposed budget to the committee, relating how the organization would deal with the governor’s 7.5 percent cut.

Huffman assured there would be no loss in personnel. However, paying the personnel a fair and competitive wage was a challenge.

Delegate Ron Walters asked how proposed water protection legislation would affect the DEP financially.

“We’re doing an inventory, right now,” Huffman said.

“We’re going to try in the next few days to get an estimate.”

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Senate
4:13 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Details Investigation for Lawmakers

Chemical Safety Board Investigator Johnnie Banks responds to questions of the Joint Commission on State Water Resources.
Credit Ashton Marra

The Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources held its third hearing related to the Kanawha Valley chemical leak Friday, receiving testimony for the first time from those conducting the on-site investigation.

Chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board Rafael Moure-Eraso explained his team of four investigators is in the preliminary phases in an investigation that could take up to a year to complete.

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Chemical Leak
3:30 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

West Virginia DEP: Freedom Industries Knew of Second Chemical

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An environmental official says the company in the West Virginia water crisis immediately knew a second chemical leaked from its plant into the river, telling its workers in an email.
 
  

However, Freedom Industries did not let state government officials know about the second chemical, which was discovered in later testing. State environmental department official Mike Dorsey says most company employees also did not skim far enough to see the information.
 

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Senate
2:55 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Senator Defends Swift Movement on Water Bill

Senate Judiciary Chair Senator Corey Palumbo
Credit West Virginia Legislature

Senate Bill 373, the bill regulating above ground storage tanks, advanced through the committee process quickly this week causing concern for some members of the upper chamber.

In a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, many expressed more time was necessary with the bill. Despite the discontent with the process, the bill was passed by the committee unanimously Thursday.

“It has moved more quickly than a lot of bills do in the Legislature,” said Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Corey Palumbo Friday, “but I think the public wants to see us act.”

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2:32 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

A Much Worse Water Crisis Is Happening In This Tiny West Virginia Mountain Town

Lead in text: 
After Jessica Lilly reported on parts of Wyoming County that have lacked safe water for months, Business Insider picked up on the story and provided this follow up. We've gotten numerous inquiries from around the region from those asking how they can help the citizens of Wyoming County and donations are starting to pour in.
While the area around Charleston, West Virginia recovers from a chemical leak that shut down water supplies for a week, with ongoing concerns about water safety, another part of the state hasn't had clean water for five months. It hasn't made a lot of headlines, but then again the town of Bud (population 487) rarely does.
Elections
1:57 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Tennant Files for Senate

Natalie Tennant filed for U.S. Senate race Friday.
Credit Jessica Y. Lilly

West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant filed her candidacy papers for U.S. Senate today.

Tennant filed to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

In a statement her campaign chairman, retired Major Gen. Allen Tackett said "Natalie always puts people above politics, and she knows West Virginia because she is West Virginia.”
 

According to the release Tennant grew up the youngest of seven children on her family farm. She worked her way through college at West Virginia University, where she was the Mountaineer mascot.

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Chemical Leak
11:25 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Utility Union Worried About Water Company's Leaky Pipes

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

The head of the Utility Workers Union of America is raising concerns that West Virginia American Water Co.'s leaky pipes may have allowed contaminated water from the Elk River chemical spill to seep into the ground.
 
     D. Michael Langford wrote to the state Public Service Commission on Thursday to point out West Virginia American's high rate of "unaccounted for water."
 

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West Virginia Morning
10:46 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Tomblin Proposes Increased Funding for Corrections, Felicity's Law, Huntington's Emergency App

The Governor's proposed budget includes an increase in funds for the Division of Corrections, "Felicity's Law" passes the House and would provide a cause of legal action for those who are viciously attacked by a dog, Heads Up Huntington helps the public to be aware of emergencies in that city, and Asleep at the Wheel performs "Hesitation Blues" on this Mountain Stage song of the week.

You can subscribe to the podcast for daily downloads.

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Chemical Leak
10:23 am
Fri January 24, 2014

National Guard Continues to Test Water After Chemical Spill

Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard
Credit Ashton Marra

National Guard teams from West Virginia and neighboring states are carrying out a massive water testing campaign following the chemical spill that polluted the water supply for 300,000 people.
 
     Nearly 40 civil support team members from the Virginia and West Virginia National Guard were taking samples this week to test for contaminants in water supplied by West Virginia American Water.
 

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The Legislature Today
7:21 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant on Candidate Filing, Freedom Industries, & Small Businesses

The House of Delegates passes a bill known as "Felicity's Law", which would allow for the euthanization of an animal that causes harm to a person. Senator Herb Snyder introduces a bill meant to repeal a section of code giving discounts to gasoline wholesalers and the Senate Finance Committee hears a budget presentation from the Division of Corrections. Also, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant talks about the looming deadline for the candidate filing period for the 2014 election, as well as the bill which would provide emergency funding to small businesses in the event of a disaster.

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Economy
4:44 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

W.Va. Jobless Rate Down Slightly to 5.9%

Credit region1workforcewestvirginia.org

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.9 percent in December.
 
     WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed residents fell by 1,300. For the year, total state unemployment was down 13,500.

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Senate
4:20 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Governor's Budget Allows for Private Prison Payments

Commissioner Jim Rubenstein testifies before the Senate Finance Committee.
Credit Janet Kunicki

During the Division of Corrections budget hearing, Commissioner Jim Rubenstein said the governor’s proposed budget for the division includes additional funding for provisions of Senate Bill 371, the governor’s prison reform bill. It includes increases for the transition of the Salem Industrial Home for Youth to the Salem Correctional Center.

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House of Delegates
4:16 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

House Passes "Felicity's Law" Hoping to Protect Children from Vicious Dog Attacks

Delegate Allen Evans introduces Felicity Jenkins, the namesake of H.B. 2757, to the House of Delegates.
Credit Daniel Walker

Felicity was a two-year-old-girl from Grant County who wandered away alone from a birthday party and was viciously attacked by two dogs. It took repeated surgeries for her to recover from her injuries. Because there was no criminal negligence on the part of the dogs’ owners, no legal action could be taken by her parents in a criminal or private case under current law according to the W. Va. Supreme Court of Appeals.

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