Associated Press

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Coonskin Park Name Change
11:00 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Proposed Renaming of Coonskin Park Dropped

Credit http://www.kcprc.com

A Kanawha County parks official has dropped a proposal to rename Coonskin Park following a public outcry.

Retired state Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett tells media outlets he won't push something that the public doesn't want. He withdrew the proposal from the agenda for the commission's Thursday meeting.

Tackett is president of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission. He had said earlier that the park's name could be offensive to black residents.

Coonskin Park was built in 1950 in an area formerly called Coonskin Hollow. The name refers to raccoon pelts.

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Vienna Annexation
10:58 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Vienna to Annex former Johns Manville Plant Site

Credit SieBot / wikimedia Commons

Vienna officials plan to clean up a former Johns Manville plant site and redevelop it.

The Wood County Commission approved the city's petition to annex the property this week.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp says the city has applied for grants totaling about $400,000 to clean up the property.

Rapp says the city plans to convert part of the property to green space for public use, including walking and biking trails. City officials hope to attract new development to the industrial section.

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Charles Town
10:52 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Charles Town to Acquire Portion of Charles Washington Estate

Credit Fæ / wikimedia Commons

Charles Town plans to acquire 10 acres surrounding city founder Charles Washington's home, Happy Retreat.

The Journal reports that City Council approved a contract this week with the Friends of Happy Retreat. Under the contract, the city will pay $350,000 for the land and the nonprofit will pay $425,000 for the house and the remaining 2.2 acres.

Friends of Happy Retreat president Walter Washington says the transaction will give the public ongoing access to the estate.

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Abuse Investigation
10:40 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Three More People Face Charges in Abuse Investigation

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

Three additional people face charges stemming from an investigation of abuse allegations at a center for developmentally disabled adults and children in Romney.

Hampshire County Magistrate Ron DiColia said Springfield resident Kevin Helms, Romney resident Jessica Carter, and Pennsylvania resident Justin Wright have each been charged with one count of failure to report abuse and neglect. The charge is a misdemeanor.

Helms and Carter have been released on bond. Wright is being transported to Hampshire County from Pennsylvania.

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Conflict of Interest
11:11 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Ex-Freedom President says Prosecutor Should Be Disqualified

Credit WOWK

The former president of Freedom Industries says U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office shouldn't prosecute criminal charges against him because its members were victims of the company's chemical spill.

Gary Southern's lawyers filed a motion Monday seeking the disqualification of Goodwin and his office's agents and investigators. The motion says they have a conflict of interest.

According to the motion, each charge against Southern is related to the January chemical spill that left 300,000 people without drinking water.

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Abuse Investigation
10:01 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Four Charged for Failing to Report Abuse at Center

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / WV Humanities Council

Four people face charges stemming from an investigation of abuse allegations at a center for developmentally disabled adults and children in Romney.

Hampshire County Magistrate Ron DiColia says Jennifer Flores of Romney and Augusta residents Joseph Moreland Jr., Denny Timbrook and Katrina Phillips are each charged with failure to report abuse or neglect. The charge is a misdemeanor.

DiColia said Tuesday that all three remain free on bond.

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Embezzlement Sentence
9:13 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Former Salem Official Loses Bid for Reconsideration of Sentence

A former Salem official has lost a bid to serve his embezzlement sentence under house arrest.

David Wayne Mayle is serving one to 10 years in prison. His attorney, Rocco Mazzei, had filed a motion in November asking a judge to consider house arrest.

The Exponent Telegram reports that Harrison County Circuit Judge John Lewis Marks Jr. denied the motion on Monday. Marks says in his order that the sentence is appropriate.

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Mountaintop Removal
4:56 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Alpha Natural Resources Reaches Settlement

Alpha Natural Resources has reached a settlement with environmental groups over stream pollution from two affiliated mountaintop removal mining complexes.

The proposal filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Huntington requires judicial approval.

The settlement addressing high conductivity discharges gives Alpha until August 2019 to meet water cleanup marks.

In June, a judge ruled Elk Run Coal and Alex Energy mines harmed aquatic life in a Boone County creek and Robinson Fork in Nicholas County.

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Chemical Spill Study
3:36 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Feds Say MCHM Toxic to Pregnant Rats

Credit http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/

Federal health researchers say a chemical that spilled into 300,000 people's water supply in January is toxic to pregnant rats in high doses.

The National Toxicology Program provided the update Friday on MCHM, a coal-cleaning agent.

Researchers found slight fetal weight changes for rats given daily doses 150 times stronger than what officials called safe for human drinking.

At 300 times the safe level, fetal weight decreased. At 600, some rats' fetal weight dropped, while miscarriages increased.

Others at 600 and 900 showed obvious clinical toxicity.

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Chemical Spill
10:37 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Water Panel Makes Suggestions on New Law

Credit Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia panel is suggesting a new tax credit, $12.2 million in extra funding and other tweaks to a law that responded to a January chemical spill.

The Public Water Supply System Study Commission suggested changes in a 47-page report submitted Monday.

The $12.2 million in recommended funding over three years would help utilities complete more intensive source water protection plans.

The proposed state income tax credit would reward landowners who use land for water protection.

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Coonskin Park
10:34 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Coonskin Park's Name to Change?

Credit http://www.kcprc.com

The head of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission is seeking to change the name of Coonskin Park in Charleston.

Retired state Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett wants to change the park's name because some people are offended by it.

The Charleston Gazette reports that the name is generally associated with a type of fur cap made from a raccoon skin but Tackett notes the term could be offensive to others.

The commission is set to discuss the name change at a Thursday meeting.

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Hunting
5:00 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Buck Kills During W.Va. Deer Season Down

Credit Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Hunters killed nearly 37,280 bucks during West Virginia's two-week firearm season. That's down 34 percent from the 56,523 bucks killed in the 2013 season.

Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro said Friday that bad weather and an excellent acorn crop this fall contributed to lower hunter success.

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Economic Development
11:14 am
Fri December 12, 2014

W.Va. Coalfields Panel Grants $20k for Trail Project

Senate President Jeff Kessler created the SCORE program in October.
Credit West Virginia Legislature

A state Senate panel seeking to revitalize the struggling southern coalfields has awarded a $20,000 grant to a trail project.

At a Thursday meeting in Princeton, Senate President Jeff Kessler and task force members gave the grant to the Piney Creek Trail Committee.

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Health
10:44 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Report: W.Va. Lax on Tobacco Prevention Funding

A group of public health organizations say West Virginia isn't spending enough money on programs to prevent tobacco use.

According to a report, states this year will collect $25.6 billion from the national tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes. But they'll spend less than 2 percent of it on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

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Education
10:39 am
Fri December 12, 2014

W.Va. Girls Scouts Promoting STEM Education

Credit www.girlscouts.org / Girl Scouts

The Girls Scouts council in West Virginia is implementing a program to promote science, technology, engineering and math fields.

The Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council says the program called "Imagine Your STEM Future" will work to inspire more girls to pursue education and careers in those fields.

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Water
10:37 am
Fri December 12, 2014

W.Va. Officials: Water Regulations Hard to Enforce

Credit Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia environmental officials say the state lacks a strong program to deter falsification of coal company water samples.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Department of Environmental Protection officials made that observation Thursday at a regulatory board hearing. The state Environmental Quality Board did not rule on an appeal by Appalachian Laboratories Inc., which lost its Clean Water Act certification after an employee pleaded guilty to falsifying water quality samples.

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Education
10:34 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Former Superintendent Case Heading to W.Va. Supreme Court

Credit www.wvencyclopedia.org

A legal battle over the firing of West Virginia's school superintendent is heading to the state's highest court.

A Kanawha County circuit judge last month refused to dismiss former superintendent Jorea Marple's lawsuit. The Charleston Gazette reports that the West Virginia Board of Education is appealing that ruling to the state Supreme Court.

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Public Education
6:40 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

W.Va. Board OKs Plan for More Flexible School Days

West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin
Credit West Virginia Department of Education

Members of the state Board of Education have approved a pilot program that will give school districts more flexibility in planning their instructional days.

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Smoking
6:36 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

W.Va. Checks Tobacco Sales to Minors

Credit Oxfordian Kissuth / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia officials say retailers continue to ensure they're not selling tobacco to minors.

An annual statewide survey indicates that 87.8 percent of retailers inspected did not sell tobacco products to youth under the age of 18 during 2014.

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Drug Abuse
11:12 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Northern West Virginia Drug Task Force Shares Ideas

Credit Creative Commons Photo

A task force on drug abuse in northern West Virginia is emphasizing the need for more treatment programs and better education for parents on the signs of heroin addiction.

The Intelligencer reports that leaders of the Ohio Valley Addiction Action Plan Working Group shared the group's ideas Wednesday at Wheeling Hospital. The panel was formed by U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II in August to develop strategies to fight drug addiction.

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