Associated Press

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Two conservation groups are joining forces to preserve battlefield land at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
 

David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

The Williamson office building that formerly housed a pain clinic is being given to the West Virginia State Police.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Monday that the agency also will receive $340,000 in cash proceeds forfeited by one of the operators of Mountain Medical Care Clinic.

The pill mill was shut down in 2010 following a federal investigation that ended with several criminal convictions.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia University economist will brief state legislators on the economic forecast for the coming year.

The annual presentation to members of the state Senate and the House of Delegates is set for Jan. 8 in the House chambers.

The report is compiled by the university's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The bureau's director, John Deskins, will make the presentation.

A former state Supreme Court candidate has withdrawn from consideration as an appointed circuit judge in Mingo County.

Tish Chafin wrote to the state Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission on Thursday. Commission member Kent Carper tells The Charleston Gazette that Chafin sought the position out of concern that solid candidates wouldn't apply.

The executive director of the state Ethics Commission admits the panel violated West Virginia's open meetings law.
 
     The violations occurred Thursday when the commission failed to send the required notice of two meetings to the Secretary of State's Office. One was devoted entirely to open meetings laws.
 
     According to state code, notice of public meetings must be approved and listed online for five business days to be legal.
 

A Boone County woman has been sentenced to life in prison with the chance for parole for killing a 71-year-old man in a drug-fueled scheme.

22-year-old Maura Perry of Hamlin was sentenced Thursday in Boone County Circuit Court for a first-degree murder conviction.

Perry pleaded guilty last month in the September 2012 shooting death of Jimmie Cooper of Peytona.

 
Investigators say that after the shooting, Perry stole items from Cooper's home and sold them to support her drug habit.
 

Enrollment in West Virginia's health insurance marketplace has jumped by more than 500 percent in the past month.
 
     Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 1,200 West Virginians have enrolled in plans through the federal exchange as of Monday. That's up from 198 people on Nov. 13.
 
     Highmark is the only private insurer participating in West Virginia's health insurance marketplace.
 
     Meanwhile, about 75,000 people have enrolled in the state's expanded Medicaid program, 12,000 more than the state projected.
 

Secretary Karen Bowling / Department of Health and Human Resources

Changes are in the works at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in response to an audit that found the agency is inefficient.
 
     DHHR Secretary Karen Bowling plans to break the agency into three divisions covering human services, health services, and insurance and strategic planning. Each division would oversee several bureaus within the agency. Deputy secretaries would be appointed to lead the divisions.
 

Many in-state students at West Virginia's public higher education institutions don't earn a degree after six years.
 
     An annual graduation report shows fewer than half of in-state freshmen enrolled in fall 2005 earned their degrees six years later.
 
     West Virginia University was the exception. The university's 2012 six-year graduation rate was 56 percent.
 
     Marshall University's six-year graduation rate was 44 percent, followed by Shepherd University, 43 percent; and West Liberty University, 41 percent.
 

Cecelia Mason

West Virginia's state superintendent says fewer 16-year-old students dropped out of high school after the compulsory attendance age was raised to 17.
 
     West Virginia State Superintendent James Phares told lawmakers on Tuesday that the number of 16-year-olds who dropped out of school in the 2012 school year declined by 52 percent from the previous year after the law went into effect.
 

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Eight Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to require nine upwind states to cut down air pollution emissions.

The petition is aimed at West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. It seeks a reduction in emissions carried by prevailing winds that contribute to the formation of ozone in the downwind states.

States filing the petition Monday are Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

A Fairmont attorney is days away from making judicial history in West Virginia.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University's Board of Governors has recommended the hiring of an interim president.
 
     Without announcing a name, the board forwarded its recommendation for Jim Clements' temporary replacement to the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. The commission meets Friday in South Charleston.
 
     WVU Board chairman James Dailey says the board is "thrilled" with its selection.
 
     The WVU board also set a goal of having a permanent president in place by next fall.
 

CONSOL Energy Inc. says it has completed the sale of subsidiary Consolidation Coal Company to Murray Energy.
 
     The sale includes five longwall mines in West Virginia. They include the McElroy, Shoemaker, Robinson Run, Loveridge and Blacksville No. 2 mines.
 
     The deal also gives Ohio-basedMurray Energy about 1.1 billion tons of coal reserves.
 
     Murray Energy paid $850 million in cash and will take $2.4 billion in liabilities off CONSOL's balance sheets.
 

Oxfordian Kissuth / wikimedia Commons

Youth tobacco use in West Virginia is declining based on just released data.

The 2013 West Virginia Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that the percentage of high school students who reported they have never tried or used any form of tobacco has gone from a little over 20% in 2000 to 46% in 2013.

The data indicates the programs and outreach efforts by the Bureau for Public Health are working, according to Dr. Letitia Tierney, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

The state Supreme Court has upheld a judge's approval of Monsanto Co.'s massive settlement with thousands of West Virginia residents.
 
     In a 4-1 decision Friday, the court affirmed a January ruling approving the class-action settlement of a lawsuit alleging that the Nitro community was contaminated with dioxin from the former Monsanto chemical plant. The plaintiffs said Monsanto polluted their community by burning waste from production of the defoliant Agent Orange.
 

West Virginia University

West Virginia University board members hope to select the school's interim president early next month.
 
     The university's Board of Governors spent more than four hours in closed executive session Thursday. Later, board chairman James Dailey said the list of potential candidates was narrowed but he didn't say how many remain.
 
     The board meets again Dec. 3. Dailey said he hopes the board can take the narrowed list and wrap up the selection process.
 

Govenor Earl Ray Tomblin speaks to a crowd in Charleston about Medicaid
Ashton Marra

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Karen Bowling announced today that a second round of 61,000 auto-enrollment letters have been mailed to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients and parents of children covered by Medicaid notifying them that they may automatically qualify for health insurance coverage.
 

To date, the DHHR has determined that 58,390 consumers are eligible for Medicaid expansion

Governor's Office / wv.gov

West Virginia's annual Joyful Night celebration is set for Dec. 3.
 
     Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced that the holiday event at the State Capitol Complex is free and open to the public.
 
     Activities begin at the North Plaza with music by two high school bands. Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin will then light a tree donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Fisher of Charleston, followed by a performance by a children's chorus.
 

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