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On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra talks with the state’s new chief health officer, Dr. Rahul Gupta about his plans to improve the overall health of the state’s citizens.  And we’ll visit a car-building competition at WVU that has students already being recruited for jobs in the auto industry. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

If you live in a nine county area in southern and central West Virginia, the name Rahul Gutpa may be a familiar one. During the January 2014 water crisis, Gutpa’s name became synonymous with the term “medical monitoring,” something he fought long and hard for during the weeks some West Virginians were without clean water and in the months after.

Since, the former director of the Kanawha-Charleston and Putnam County Health Departments has taken on a new role in government. Gupta was appointed as the state’s Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health and chief health officer in January, overseeing 130 statewide programs and some 700 employees.  

EcoCAR.org

Many college seniors have to worry about whether they’re going find a job after they turn their tassel. But some students in a car-building competition are being recruited by the auto industry even before they graduate.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill expanding some access of public records, while eliminating public disclosure of who owns concealed carry permits.

The Democrat approved the legislation Wednesday.

Courtesy Photo

The Commission on Presidential Debates released Wednesday the list of cities who have applied to host one of four debates in 2016. 

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal judge is drafting a questionnaire to decide whether prosecutors who live in Charleston have a conflict of interest in the criminal case over the massive chemical spill last year.

Marshall County
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An emergency official says no one was injured when a storage tank fire broke out at a drilling well pad in Marshall County.

Marshall County Emergency Management director Tom Hart says the fire was reported around 4:45 a.m. Wednesday at Gastar Exploration's Armstrong pad near the Wetzel County line.

http://www.murrayenergycorp.com/

A portion of Murray Energy Corp.'s Monongalia County Mine has been temporarily idled.

The company attributes the move to shipment shortfalls by railroads serving the mine.

http://www.edline.net/pages/oak_glen_high_school

Police in North Carolina say a West Virginia high school baseball team won't be charged for a kidnapping prank.

Lt. Patrick O'Toole with the High Point Police Department tells media outlets that a motorist on reported seeing someone in a pickup truck on Interstate 74 waving frantically, with tape on their hands and mouth.

On West Virginia Morning, a young man who found himself in the state’s juvenile justice system talks about what can be done to transition juvenile offenders to a productive life.  And we’ll take a tour inside of a Morgantown landmark that has rarely been seen. 

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than 150 individuals gathered in Charleston this week for a meeting that was the first of its kind.

Hosted by the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling Charleston, the day long conference brought together the state Division of Juvenile Services, Department of Health and Human Resources and the Department of Education with religious and community social service programs to focus on an issue that’s becoming more and more visible in West Virginia: transitioning juveniles from state custody back into their communities. 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A somewhat mysterious Morgantown landmark was opened up to the public recently. The Calvary Chapel Church is renovating Pietro’s Castle, and more than three hundred people got to see the results for themselves.  

Italian immigrant and stonemason Thoney Pietro earned his slice of the American Dream by building infrastructure across the region, from Mingo County to Pittsburgh. When he retired in 1928, he built a home for his family that reflected his strong Catholic faith, complete with a large cross sitting between two soaring parapets.

 

Volunteer West Virginia

There are about 180 active AmeriCorps volunteers working in West Virginia. A new partnership between Volunteer West Virginia and the Red Cross is training many of these AmeriCorps to be ready to serve communities affected by disasters. Some of these volunteers have already been deployed in the last few weeks to assist residents affected by flooding and mudslides as part of a new statewide program called Disaster Corps.

http://www.specialmetals.com/

The parent company of the Special Metals alloy plant in Huntington is laying off about 100 workers.

Portland, Oregon-based Precision Castparts Corp. didn't specify in a statement whether the layoffs would be temporary or permanent.

Freedom Industries
AP

Federal prosecutors say two ex-Freedom Industries officials have agreed to testify for the government in two remaining chemical spill cases.

In Charleston federal court filings Tuesday, prosecutors wrote that plea agreements with William Tis and Charles Herzing say they're willing to provide testimony in the cases against fellow ex-Freedom officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell.

West Virginia Regional Jails

A corrections official has been named interim executive director of the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority.

Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Joe Thornton announced David Farmer's appointment on Tuesday.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries has signed a Voluntary Remediation Agreement with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection following the January 2014 spill of crude MCHM that tainted the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians for days. The agreement is part of the Freedom’s acceptance into the DEP’s Voluntary Remediation Program, including clean up the site.

 Authorities are investigating a fire that destroyed a 140-year-old church Catholic church in Benwood.

The fire occurred just before 9 p.m. Monday at St. John Catholic Church. No injuries were reported.

http://www.faa.gov/

Mercer County Airport plans to begin construction this summer on a taxiway realignment.

Airport manager Clinton Ransom tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that a portion of the taxiway will be removed so that a new taxiway intersection can be placed on runway 5. A similar realignment was done in 2014 for runway 2-3.

Glynis Board / WVPB

When natural gas drillers use extreme pressures to drill and crack rocks thousands of feet underground - when they frack for natural gas, for example - sometimes nearby conventional gas wells will suddenly see production double, or triple. 

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