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.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

A former coal company CEO who served a one-year prison term on charges related to the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in four decades is kicking off his U.S. Senate campaign with a town hall meeting for voters.

Ex-Massey Energy boss Don Blankenship is scheduled to attend the meeting Thursday night at the Chief Logan Lodge, Hotel and Conference Center in Logan. Blankenship has said he wants to tell voters why he's the best candidate. A news conference is planned afterward.

Health, doctor, nurse, mask, breathing
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West Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch says $160 million in savings from the state's Medicaid program will be applied to other programs.

Matthew Woitunski / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia's U.S. senators say more than $8.3 million in federal funding has been approved for 63 programs across the state that help homeless people.

Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia public library system will soon limit the number of personal items patrons can bring into facilities.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that starting Feb. 1, the Kanawha County Public Library system will limit patrons to three bags and will ban wheeled devices with some exceptions, including wheelchairs and strollers.

Spotted Lanternfly, Lanternfly, Lantern Fly, Fly, Lantern
Sam Droege / USGS

West Virginia's Department of Agriculture has established an email where the state's residents can send pictures and descriptions of a suspected invasive pest, as well as their locations and any related damage to buildings or plants.

Jim Justice
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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has ordered state agencies to stop issuing new regulations and review old ones to determine if they're outmoded or excessive and should be continued, modified or repealed.

He called for reviews of current regulations by Nov. 1.

Logs Logging
GeographBot / wikimedia commons

Gov. Jim Justice's administration has proposed opening West Virginia's state parks to logging.

Legislation introduced by the Senate's Republican and Democratic leaders at Justice's request would authorize the Division of Natural Resources to implement "a sound silvicultural management plan."

Alokrohith / wikimedia commons

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says 21 organizations around the state are receiving grants to help protect the quality of the state's rivers and streams.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is seeking paintings for its 2019 wildlife calendar.

The DNR says in a news release that the deadline for submitting original, color wildlife paintings is Feb. 19.

Greenland Gap
Nature Conservancy / WV Humanities Council

The West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund says it's accepting grant applications for land-protection projects with up to $1.2 million that may be awarded.

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Some West Virginia lawmakers say they'll introduce legislation intended to better protect children from sex abuse following a task force report indicating one in 10 are victims before they turn 18.

The group's recommendations include training all public school personnel to recognize and respond to suspected abuse and clarifying the state's mandatory reporting laws.

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Updated Friday January 12 at 4:18 p.m.

State health officials are proposing a multifaceted plan for confronting the drug crisis killing hundreds of West Virginians each year, one that would require action by everyone from lawmakers to doctors to judges to emergency responders to the general public.

Jeff Mullins
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

State Sen. Jeff Mullins, a Republican representing a swath of southern West Virginia, says he's resigning because of business and family obligations.

Mullins, who has held the seat since 2015, chairs the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

Electric car, Electric, Electric vehicle, Electric charging station

Marshall University is set to unveil an electric car charging station.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice has filled a vacancy in West Virginia's House of Delegates.

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Health officials in West Virginia say a plan to combat the state's opioid crisis has been released for public comment.

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Forecasters have issued a flood watch in much of West Virginia as a storm approaches.

The National Weather Service says the flood watch is in effect through Friday morning for about half of West Virginia's counties.

Marcin Mincer / Wikimedia Commons

Ford is telling owners of about 2,900 Ranger small pickup trucks not to drive them after finding out that an exploding Takata air bag inflator killed a Ranger driver in West Virginia.

The death occurred July 1 in West Virginia, and Ford said it found out about it in December. After some investigation, the company determined that the truck's inflator was made on the same day as one that exploded and killed a South Carolina man driving a Ranger in 2016. So the company issued the urgent new recall for Rangers with inflators made on the same day.

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The West Virginia Board of Education has agreed to reduce the credits required to graduate from the state's high schools from 24 to 22, allowing two fewer elective classes.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that change will apply in the next school year.

Confluence of Ohio and Big Sandy River, South Point, Ohio; Kenova, West Virginia; Ashland, Kentucky
Ken Lund / Wikimedia Commons

Updated Friday, January 12 at 11:49 a.m.

Officials say a sunken tow boat is leaking oil in the Big Sandy River on the West Virginia-Kentucky border and crews are trying to contain the spill.

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A West Virginia University researcher says the official U.S. suicide rate, which rose 34 percent from 2000 to 2016, fails to include many people who kill themselves purposely with drugs.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is hosting a town hall meeting for voters next week as he revs up his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

A federal judge on Tuesday likened the nation's opioid epidemic to the deadly 1918 flu pandemic while noting the drug crisis is "100 percent manmade."

Judge Dan Polster urged participants on all sides of lawsuits against drugmakers and distributors to work toward a common goal of reducing overdose deaths. He said the issue has come to courts because "other branches of government have punted" it.

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The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has awarded nearly two dozen recycling grants to groups in 20 counties.

The DEP said in a news release that funding for the recycling assistance grant program is generated through a $1 assessment fee per ton of solid waste disposed at in-state landfills.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Legislative auditors have set their sights on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports auditors notified the legislative Post-Audits Committee on Sunday that they planned to audit the state Supreme Court this year.

Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred did not elaborate, beyond saying they had notified the court and haven't received a response.

Frost on leaf, frost

Record-low temperatures have been set in parts of West Virginia as a blast of Arctic air swept through the state.

The National Weather Service says the thermometer dipped to 14-below zero Sunday morning in Elkins. That broke the previous record of 12 below set in 1988.

Melody Potter

Melody Potter has been selected as the first woman to lead West Virginia's Republican Party.

The state GOP says in a news release that Potter was elected party chairwoman Saturday by members of the state Republican Executive Committee at their winter meeting.

West Virginia Supreme Court chamber
West Virginia Judiciary

A West Virginia judge has been suspended for 45 days without pay for violations in two cases in which the defendants died.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled this week to suspend Kanawha County Magistrate Jack Pauley. The court also censured Pauley for violations of the Judicial Code of Conduct.

Valerius Tygart / Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump intends to nominate a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's staff as the new federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The White House said Thursday in a news release that the president intends to nominate Tim Thomas to oversee the ARC. Thomas works as a McConnell staff member in Kentucky. He previously worked in former Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Unemployment rates rose in all 55 West Virginia counties in November.

WorkForce West Virginia says Jefferson County's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate of 3 percent was the lowest in the state, followed by Doddridge, Monongalia and Pendleton counties at 3.4 percent apiece.