Associated Press

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11:32 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Much of State Deals with Flood Warnings

Credit National Weather Service, Charleston

  Flood warnings have been issued as heavy rains move through West Virginia before giving way to significant snowfall.

Schools in at least 15 counties sent students home early due to high water and other storm-related issues Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says an ice jam caused stream flooding near Moundsville. A flooded creek poured over a bridge in Morgantown and swollen streams inundated roads in several other communities.

State transportation officials say a rock slide closed one lane of southbound Interstate 77 near the Jackson-Wood county line.

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Drug Testing
10:45 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Push to Drug Test Welfare Recipients Dead

Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A push to drug test some welfare recipients is dead in the West Virginia Legislature.

On Wednesday, Republican bill sponsor Del. Patrick Lane confirmed the bill was done for the session.

The Republican-led House voted to table the bill Tuesday.

Wednesday is the final day to pass bills out of at least one chamber. The Senate version of the welfare drug testing bill hasn't passed, either.

In the West Virginia bills, drug testing would have been based on reasonable suspicion.

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State Revenues
9:25 am
Wed March 4, 2015

W.Va. Officials Say State Faces Deficit of $80 Million

Credit Flickr / davidwilson1949

State officials say West Virginia could end the fiscal year $60 million to $80 million in the red.

February revenue collections were about $5.4 million below estimates for the month. That increased the total shortfall for the fiscal year to more than $47 million.

The fiscal year ends July 1.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow tells media outlets that revenue collections for the remainder of the fiscal year would have to be at least 9.7 percent higher than last year's revenue collections. He says that's unlikely.

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Beckley Historic District
8:56 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Beckley Historic District, Others on Endangered List

Credit Tim Kiser / wikimedia Commons

Beckley's historic district and two other sites are on the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia's latest endangered properties list.

The other sites are a farmhouse built around 1845 in Mount Nebo and a service station built in 1945 in Fayetteville.

Executive director Danielle LaPresta tells The Register-Herald that the preservation group normally works with individual properties. But she says Beckley's entire national historic district is in eminent danger because of neglect, demolitions and inappropriate development.

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Energy & Environment
1:40 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Company Proposes Building Two Gas-Fired Power Plants in W.Va.

The Moss Landing Power Plant in California. According to the Energry Information Administration, West Virginia does not currently have any natural gas-fired power plants in operation.
Credit David Monniaux / wikimedia Commons

A company plans to spend about $1 billion to build two natural gas-fired power plants in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle.

The State Journal reports that the Brooke County Commission approved a memorandum of understanding for the project on Tuesday.

Energy Solutions Consortium LLC plans to build a 750-megawatt plant and a 550-megawatt plant on the former Wheeling Corrugating property in Beech Bottom. The property will be purchased from the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle.

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12:23 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Justice Says Coal Operations Buyback Includes Liabilities

Credit Scott Halleran / Getty Images

Billionaire Jim Justice says his buyback of coal mining operations in West Virginia includes some big liabilities.

Justice completed the $5 million acquisition of Bluestone Inc. from Russian mining and metals company Mechel OAO last month. He had sold Bluestone's mining operations to Mechel in 2009 for $436 million in cash and more than $83 million in preferred shares.

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Higher Education
6:50 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

West Liberty Faculty Vote No Confidence in President Capehart

West Liberty University President Rob Capehart

The West Liberty University faculty senate has voted no confidence in President Robin Capehart, who is facing an ethics complaint.
The vote Monday was 13-6, according to media reports.
The vote follows a complaint in January by the West Virginia Ethics Commission alleging Capehart used university resources to promote his film company's movie "Doughboy."

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4:12 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Court in Va. Hears Media's Gag Order Appeal in Blankenship Case

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

A lawyer for five media organizations has urged a federal appeals court to toss out a gag order in former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's criminal case.

Blankenship was CEO when the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia exploded in 2010, killing 29 men. He's charged with conspiring to violate safety and health standards.

The Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, NPR, The Associated Press and other news outlets are appealing U.S. District Judge Irene Berger's gag order in the case. 

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Health & Science
1:05 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

WVSU, United Arab Emirates University Partner on Health Conference

Credit Steve Shaluta / W.Va. Department of Commerce

West Virginia State University is partnering with the University of Sharjah on an international health conference.

The "Solutions for Better Life" conference will be held Nov. 15-19 at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

West Virginia State said Monday in a news release that participants will include world health experts and high school and university students from 100 countries. The goal is to identify innovative solutions to global health problems.

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12:47 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Governor Adds Pleasants County to Polymer Alliance Zone

  Pleasants County has joined an organization that promotes West Virginia's plastics and polymer industries.

An executive order signed recently by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin added Pleasants County to the Polymer Alliance Zone. The organization also serves Mason, Jackson and Wood counties.

Pleasants County Development Authority executive director J. McGoldrick says in a news release that the authority and the Polymer Alliance Zone will cooperatively market the county to plastics and polymer companies.

Arts & Culture
11:46 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Two-Century-Old Log House Donated to Fort New Salem

Credit Garkeith / wikimedia Commons

  A Clarksburg family has donated a two-century-old log house on their property to Fort New Salem.

Bradley Franz tells The Exponent Telegram that he and his wife, Dominique, believe the house was built in the late 1790s. It was constructed by his wife's fifth great-grandfather, John Reynolds.

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11:43 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Public Meetings Set on Newly Proposed W.Va. Hunting Regulations

Credit Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

  West Virginia residents will have an opportunity this month to review and comment on the state's proposed new hunting, trapping and fishing regulations.

The Division of Natural Resources has scheduled 12 public meetings across the state on the regulations. They include 2015 regulations for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear and boar, proposed 2016-2017 general hunting and trapping regulations and proposed 2016 fishing regulations.

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11:41 am
Mon March 2, 2015

W.Va. Farmers Face March 15 Deadline to Buy Crop Insurance

Credit Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

  A deadline is approaching for West Virginia farmers to buy insurance for crops planted in the spring.

March 15 is the closing date to either buy crop insurance or change an existing policy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency says insurable spring-planted crops include corn, spring oats soybeans and tobacco.

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6:30 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

W.Va. Senate Approves Bill to Not Require Handgun Permits

Senate President Bill Cole.
Credit Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators have approved a push to make West Virginia the sixth state not to require concealed handgun permits.

The Senate's 32-2 vote Monday would drop concealed carry permit requirements. Arkansas, Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming similarly don't require them.

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Woody Williams
1:56 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Manchin Urges Navy to Name Ship After Williams

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

  U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is urging the Navy to name a ship after Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams.

 Manchin made the request Friday in a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

He said naming a ship after the Fairmont native would not only honor his legacy, but also the legacy of scores of other West Virginia veterans and their families.

The 91-year-old Williams is the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima. After retiring from the Marines, he worked for the Veterans Affairs Administration for 35 years. 

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Phone Scam
9:11 am
Fri February 27, 2015

WVU Warns Students About Phone Scam

West Virginia University is warning students about a phone scam in which the caller impersonates police.

The Dominion Post reports that the Charleston Police Department appears on the caller ID, and the caller asks for personal information.

WVU Police Chief Rob Roberts says his agency has received about 15 reports of the scam. Students who received the calls were told that warrants were issued for their arrest and their scholarship funds are in jeopardy if personal information is not immediately provided.

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Mountain State University
3:06 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Judges OK Settlement with ex-Mountain State Students

Credit Mountain State University / Google+

A three-judge panel says former students of Mountain State University are entitled to an $11.3 million payout.

Media reports state that the so-called mass litigation panel met in Charleston on Thursday to approve the proposed settlement.

The students argued that Mountain State did not provide them with an education worthy of the tuition they paid. The private university closed after it lost its accreditation in 2012 because of leadership, organizational and integrity issues.

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Health Care Fraud
10:42 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Charleston Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty in Fraud Case

A Charleston pharmacy owner faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to making a false statement in a health care matter.

Paula Butterfield also pleaded guilty on behalf of her business, Trivillian's Pharmacy, to health care fraud and misbranding drugs.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says the pharmacy faces a fine, up to 10 years of probation and restitution.

Butterfield entered the pleas Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. She and the pharmacy are scheduled to be sentenced May 28.

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Gag Order
10:38 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Gag Order Not Needed if Trial Moved

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship's lawyers say a gag order in his criminal case would be unnecessary if his trial is moved.

They say in a legal brief that polling shows about half of the community in the U.S. District Court's Beckley Division believes Blankenship is guilty.

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10:36 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Ex-highways Supervisor Gets Probation For Lying to FBI

A former West Virginia Division of Highways supervisor who admitted lying to the FBI has received probation.

Edward Matthew Tuttle was sentenced on Wednesday to three years of probation. The 39-year-old Buckhannon resident had pleaded guilty in August 2014 to making a false statement to a federal agent.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II said Thursday that Tuttle made false statements to an FBI agent during an investigation of the DOH's Equipment Division.

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