Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

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Air Travel
4:51 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

TSA: More Weapons Found During W.Va. Airport Checks in 2014

Credit Joshuashearn / wikimedia Commons

  The Transportation Security Administration is reporting an increase in the number of firearms that were discovered by TSA officers at checkpoints at West Virginia airports.

In 2014, the TSA says 6 firearms were detected at three West Virginia airports. That's up two firearms from 2013.

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Prison
2:39 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Heating Work Done, W.Va. Inmates Return to Regional Jail

Credit Schavda / wikimedia Commons

  Some 200 inmates are back at the Potomac Highlands Regional Jail following repairs to the jail's heating system.

The West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority relocated the inmates to other regional jails on Tuesday while the work was under way. It involved the flushing of liquid propane from system lines. The inmates were relocated as a safety measure.

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Courts
12:23 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

UBB Victims' Families Want Gag Order Lifted in Blankenship Case

Credit Mine Safety and Health Administration

Families of the 29 West Virginia coal miners killed in a 2010 explosion are asking a federal judge to lift a gag order in the criminal case against the mining company's former chief executive.

The Charleston Gazette reports that lawyers for the estates of 14 of the victims filed the motion Thursday. The families want the gag order lifted so they can testify freely to West Virginia lawmakers about bills that would narrow the rights of workers to sue employers over workplace injuries and deaths.

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State Budget
12:14 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

W.Va. Treasurer Irked by Governor Tapping Unclaimed Property Cash

Credit West Virginia State Treasurer's Office

  State Treasurer John Perdue is criticizing Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for banking on $15 million from an unclaimed property account to balance the next budget.

The Charleston Gazette reports Perdue thinks the move would make it difficult to pay claims to unclaimed property owners or survivors within 90 days, as required by law.

The $21.5 million fund includes various liquidated assets, like sold unclaimed stock and mutual funds, and insurance company payments for unclaimed benefits.

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Legislature
1:01 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

West Virginia House Passes Energy Act Repeal Overwhelmingly

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  The Republican-run state House of Delegates has passed a repeal of an energy portfolio.

The House voted 95-4 Thursday to repeal the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

The portfolio requires generating 25 percent of electricity with renewable or alternative power sources by 2025. Some coal-burning technologies qualify.

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Legislature
11:54 am
Thu January 22, 2015

W.Va. Governor Bill Would Allow Craft Beer Samples, Growlers

Credit Credit File photo from Uri Tours (wikimedia Commmons) / Photo Illustration by Dave Mistich

Craft beer lovers could score samples on brewery tours or fill growlers to take home for later under a push by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

On Wednesday, lawmakers filed the craft beer bill Tomblin touted in his State of the State address last week.

The proposal would let craft breweries give free samples during tours. Breweries could sell up to four growlers per day, per customer.

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Security
11:35 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Bridge Day Panel OKs Finger Scans, Jumpers Protest

Credit en.wikipedia / User: Cyrillic

  The Bridge Day Commission has decided to require BASE jumpers, reppellers and vendors to undergo finger scans.

Commission members voted unanimously on Wednesday to require the scans. Commission members say the scans are less intrusive than the one-day festival's current background checks.

Several jumpers criticized the requirement during the meeting's public comment segment. Marcus Ellison of Fayetteville said jumpers feel insulted by the requirement.

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Chemical Spill
11:33 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Ex-Freedom Industries President Faces New Fraud Charge

Credit WOWK

  Former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern faces a new federal fraud charge stemming from the company's bankruptcy.

A federal grand jury in Beckley, West Virginia, handed up a superseding indictment on Wednesday against Southern and three other former Freedom executives. The indictment charges Southern with a new count of fraud by interstate commercial carrier and restates the charges in the original indictment.

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Government
10:11 am
Thu January 22, 2015

W.Va.'s Manchin Co-Chairing Senate General Aviation Caucus

  Sen. Joe Manchin has been named co-chairman of the Senate General Aviation Caucus.

The West Virginia Democrat said Wednesday he will chair the caucus with Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas. Manchin said the caucus is responsible for informing U.S. senators about general aviation's crucial contributions to the nation's economy and transportation system.

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Health & Science
11:25 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Report: W.Va. Makes Little Progress on Tobacco Control

Credit Oxfordian Kissuth / wikimedia Commons

  The American Lung Association says West Virginia isn't making much progress on tobacco control.

An annual report released Wednesday by the association gives the Mountain State failing grades for tobacco prevention and control program funding, access to cessation services and tobacco taxes.

West Virginia received a D for smoke-free air.

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Public Education
11:01 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Governor Fills Two Vacancies on W.Va. Board of Education

Credit West Virginia Department of Education

  Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has filled two vacancies on the West Virginia Board of Education.

Tomblin announced the appointments of Dr. James S. Wilson and Beverly E. Kingery on Wednesday in a news release. Their appointments are effective immediately.

Wilson is a dentist who served on the Marshall County school board for 20 years. He replaces Bob Dunlevy, whose term expired Nov. 4, 2014.

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Government
5:55 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

West Virginia Abortion Ban Bill Filed Again After Last Year's Gubernatorial Veto

Credit Flickr / davidwilson1949

  A Democrat has refiled a proposal banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation in West Virginia, despite its veto last year.

On Tuesday, Fayette County Del. David Perry reintroduced the bill Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed.

It bans abortions after 20 weeks, except for expectant women in medical emergencies.

Before last year's election, the Democratic-run House and Senate passed the proposal overwhelmingly.

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Energy & Environment
11:41 am
Tue January 20, 2015

W.Va., Noble Negotiating Deal for Drilling Under Ohio River

Credit Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) / Wikimedia Commons

  West Virginia is negotiating a lease with Noble Energy for oil and gas drilling under the Ohio River.

Department of Commerce spokeswoman Chelsea Ruby tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that Noble submitted the highest bid to lease a 1,400-acre state-owned tract under the river.

Ruby says Noble has agreed to pay $3,500 per acre to lease the land. She didn't say what percentage of production royalties Noble will pay the state.

Noble spokeswoman Stacey Brodak declined comment on the deal because it hasn't been finalized.

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Government
3:30 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

West Virginia Lawmakers Again Push Non-Discrimination Bill

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  West Virginia lawmakers are again promoting a bill to prohibit employers and landlords from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation.

At a Fairness West Virginia news conference Monday, Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler and other Democratic officials discussed the legislation that Kessler has supported for years.

Appalachian Electric Power executive Charles Patton also spoke in support of it.

West Virginia law prohibits discrimination in employment and housing based a variety of factors, from race and religion to blindness or disability.

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Higher Education
1:37 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Future of WVU Institute of Technology Being Discussed

Credit WVU Tech

  West Virginia University's purchase of the Mountain State University campus in Beckley has cast a shadow on WVU's Institute of Technology in Montgomery.

The two campuses are approximately 40 miles apart, with 1,200 students attending WVU Tech.

A 2011 state audit found major financial and enrollment problems as well as infrastructure and student life issues at WVU Tech. The latter included a lack of student access to wireless Internet on campus.

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News
10:35 am
Mon January 19, 2015

W.Va. Homeless Man Settles with Charleston Over Backpack

Credit Steve Shaluta / West Virginia Division of Tourism

  A homeless man who says a Charleston policeman tossed his backpack off a bridge has agreed to a settlement in exchange for agreeing not to sue the city.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Andrew Joel Hunt settled for $1,500, according to an agreement. The newspaper said the backpack tossed into the Elk River contained a laptop and photographs of his late wife.

Patrolman Brian Lightner had been on paid leave since Sept. 9 following the August incident involving Hunt.

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Energy & Environment
5:40 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Company Run by Ex-Freedom Employees is Facing Environmental Violations

Credit AP

After Freedom Industries leaked chemicals into 300,000 people's drinking water in Charleston last year, a company run by ex-Freedom employees is facing environmental violations a few towns away, in Nitro.

 

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GOP Senator
4:18 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Boso tapped as GOP Senator

Credit https://twitter.com/gregboso

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has tapped Republican engineer Gregory Boso as the new 11th District state senator.

The Democratic governor had to pick from three Republicans to replace GOP state Sen. Clark Barnes, who has 

  officially resigned to become Senate clerk.

Boso currently provides forensic and investigative engineering services for cases in Kentucky and West Virginia. The Summerville resident is president of G.L. Boso & Associates Inc. and Boso & Boso Inc.

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Mountain State University
2:10 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Judges Approve Sale of Mountain State University

Credit Mountain State University / Google+

Mountain State University's sale of campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg has been approved by a three-judge panel.

The school's Beckley campus has been sold to West Virginia University for $8 million, while its Martinsburg campus is going to a Virginia limited liability company called Viking Way Holdings, according to media reports.

Judges on a mass litigation panel approved the sales on Friday, pending a 30-day appeal period. They postponed a ruling on a larger settlement that would distribute $8.5 million of those sales to as many as 14,000 MSU students.

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Forest Land
11:42 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Timber County Payments Down After Subsidy Expires

Credit wikimedia / ForestWander

West Virginia and 40 other states are losing money after Congress ended subsidies to counties that contain national forest land.

Agriculture officials announced Thursday that the U.S. Forest Service is distributing more than $50 million to 746 timber counties nationwide. That's compared with about $300 million during the final year of the Secure Rural Schools subsidies program.

West Virginia is set to receive about $282,000 this year, down from about $1.97 million last year.

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