Economy

Energy
9:22 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Appalachian Power Expands Energy-Saving Programs in W.Va.

Appalachian Power has expanded its energy efficiency programs for West Virginia businesses.

Officials say changes to the programs are making it more flexible than previous energy efficiency programs for commercial and industrial customers.

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Agribusiness
9:39 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Morgantown Talks Urban Agriculture Policy

Credit Chuck Kleine

A group called the Morgantown Municipal Green Team will host a Community Dialogue on Urban Agriculture next week.


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Employment
9:09 am
Wed September 10, 2014

The Top Five Private Employers in W.Va.

Walmart continues to be the largest private employer in West Virginia.
 

Based on the available records provided by WorkForce West Virginia, Walmart has been the state's top private sector employer since at least 1999.
 

  • Walmart
  • West Virginia United Health System
  • Charleston Area Medical Center
  • Kroger
  • Mylan Pharmaceuticals

 WorkForce did not release specific employment numbers for each employer on the list.
 
     Rounding out the top 10:

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Agriculture
8:39 am
Wed September 10, 2014

W.Va. Agriculture Statisics Available On Line

Credit wikimedia

From corn to cows, a compendium of all things agricultural in West Virginia is now available online.
 
The Annual Bulletin of the West Virginia Agricultural Statistic Service is the source. It reveals that the state is ninth in the U.S. in terms of apple production and that the number of beef cattle in the state total 380,000.

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Economy
10:13 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

What's Next, Wheeling?

What’s Next, West Virginia? That’s the question that keeps getting thrown around the state. Conversations are going on all over, exploring what West Virginians want to see happen next in their economy, including at a workshop in Wheeling.


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Energy
11:31 am
Mon September 8, 2014

First of Three Gas Wells Goes Online at WVSU Campus

Credit Steve Shaluta / W.Va. Department of Commerce

  West Virginia State University expects to save $100,000 a year by using natural gas underneath its campus.

One of three natural gas wells planned on the school's Institute campus began production last week. The Charleston Daily Mail reports that Spencer-based Reserve Oil & Gas is drilling the second well. The third well is expected to be drilled by the end of the year.

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Community Development
9:03 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Downtown Grafton Puts Its Mark On "First Friday"

Credit Sarah Lowther Hensley

We continue our coverage of the Turn this Town Around Project. The towns of Grafton and Matewan are turning themselves around through a special collaborative project between West Virginia Public Broadcasting, West Virginia Focus magazine and the West Virginia Community Development Hub. 

The citizens of Grafton will be gathering downtown this evening for “First Friday”– an initiative that’s grown out of the Turn This Town Around project. The goal is to promote downtown Grafton by hosting special events and activities and extending downtown business hours on the first Friday of every month.

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4:06 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Map: Where Working Women Are Most Equal

Lead in text: 
The status of working women in West Virginia is worst in all of America, according to this report from The Washington Post, which was based on analysis conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. West Virginia recieved an F overall, taking a look at four factors: median annual earnings (for full-time, year-round women workers); the earnings ratio between men and women (again, for full-time, year-round women workers); the share of women in the workforce and the share of women in managerial or professional jobs.
The status of working women is strongest in the Northeast, the region home to many of the most-equal states by employment and earnings, according to a national analysis. Massachusetts had the highest score among states, according to the analysis of four factors conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
Energy
9:20 am
Thu September 4, 2014

W.Va. PSC Sets Hearings on Electricity Rate Hike Request

  State regulators will hold public hearings in October on two FirstEnergy subsidiaries' request for a $151.4 million rate increase.

Monongahela Power and Potomac Edison submitted the request to the Public Service Commission in April. The proposal was amended in June to add costs associated with reading customer meters.

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Travel
5:14 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Airline Offering Flights from W.Va. to Orlando

Credit @yeagerairport / Twitter

  PEOPLExpress is planning to offer low-fare flights from Charleston's Yeager Airport to Orlando starting next month.

Officials on Wednesday announced the new flights that will begin on Oct. 16.

Service between Charleston and Orlando will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with Boeing 737 aircraft. Introductory fares start at $49 each way.

Officials say Charleston is the first destination to be added outside the PEOPLExpress base at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia.

Economy
12:04 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Thousands Will Ride the World Class Gauley Rapids Beginning This Weekend

White water rafting on the Gauley RIver begins this weekend.
Credit Ken Thomas / wikimedia Commons

Five thousand people on some 500 boats are expected on the Gauley River beginning Friday as the U.S. Corp of Engineers begins drawing down the water levels on Summersville Lake, releasing a thunderous amount of water into the Upper and Lower sections of the Gauley.

The releases will occur during the next 7 consecutive weekends, supporting the local rafting industry and ensuring the river maintains its world class rafting status.

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10:55 am
Thu August 28, 2014

America’s Coal Heartland Is In Economic Freefall — But Only The Most Desperate Are Fleeing

Lead in text: 
As the coal industry continues to decline--what many say isn't a "typical bust"--The Washington Post reports on the struggles of those in southern West Virginia looking to find new job opportunities and other ways to gather an income.
LOGAN, W.Va. - For 51 years he'd lived in the same hollow and for two decades he'd performed the same job, mining coal from the underground seams of southern West Virginia. Then, on June 30, Michael Estep was jobless. His mine shut down, and its operator said "market conditions" made coal production unviable.
Local Food
6:00 am
Thu August 21, 2014

How Vacant Lots in Charleston Are Transforming Into a School for Farmer-Entrepreneurs

Meg Reishman (sitting), Kathy Moore (l) and Jenny Totten (r) are planning their mid-summer planting of vegetables for the garden.
Credit Roxy Todd

On a sultry summer evening, three women are killing harlequin beetles in an effort to save the greens at the SAGE micro-farm on Rebecca Street that they landscaped themselves.

Last year, Kathy Moore, Jenny Totten and Meg Reishman completed 18 agriculture and business classes through SAGE, which stands for Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneurs. Kathy says she loves getting to take home an unlimited supply of fresh vegetables each week.

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Energy & Environment
9:45 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Marshall Commission OKs Power Plant Agreement

The Marshall County Commission has approved an agreement for a proposed natural gas-fired power plant.

Under the agreement, the commission would own the 549-megawatt plant and lease it back to Moundsville Power to operate. Moundsville Power would pay about $1 million annually to the county over 30 years in lieu of property taxes.

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Christian Youth Camp
3:04 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Faith Based Adventure Camp Planned for Nicholas Co.

West Virginia Young Life Representative Scott Berg says the camp will be between Mt. Nebo and Kessler's Cross Lanes.

A faith based organization plans to develop land in West Virginia to create a youth camp. The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority made the announcement earlier this week.

Young Life, a non-denominational Christian organization, plans to build an adventure camp in Nicholas County close to Mt. Nebo.

The organization has 35 camps around the globe according to their website. In a release, Young Life’s state Director, Scott Berg, said it was the outdoor activities, and landscape that attracted the group to West Virginia.


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Infrastructure
2:53 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

City Council to Hear Morgantown Truck Traffic Proposal

Recent photo of heavy trucks traveling through downtown Morgantown.
Credit Safe Streets Morgantown / https://www.facebook.com/SafeStreetsMorgantown

Morgantown City Council will meet to discuss amending traffic code to address heavy trucks traveling through the downtown business district.

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Economy
1:06 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

With So Many Mine Layoffs, What's the Future of Southern W.Va.'s Economy?

Credit Catherine V. Moore

 


 

This story was produced as part of What's Next, West Virginia?, a collaboration between West Virginia Public Broadcasting, West Virginia Center for Civic Life, and West Virginia Community Development Hub, among others.

Over the past two years, 1,800 coal miners in Boone County have been laid off from work—that’s a fifth of the county’s total labor force. And the crisis doesn’t show any signs of slowing. At the end of July, Alpha Natural Resources announced it expects to lay off 1,100 more workers at 11 mines in southern West Virginia.

The West Virginia Coal Festival, held every year at the end of June in the county seat of Madison, is a good place to gauge how the layoffs are affecting everyday life for Boone County families--not only the economy, but also the political landscape and discussions about the future.

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Economy
11:02 am
Fri August 15, 2014

W.Va. Gets Funding for Workforce Development

Credit Kristi George / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  West Virginia is receiving $10,000 in funding to help expand workforce education and training program.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the state was selected for a grant from the National Governors Association.

Officials say 44 percent of job openings in West Virginia in the next 10 years will require more than a high school education, but less than a four-year degree.

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Economy
6:57 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Local Craft Brewers Hope to Use Festivals to Lobby for More Industry-Friendly Laws

Mike Vance pours a beer from Morgantown Brewing Company's stand at the Brew Skies Festival in Canaan Valley on July 25, 2014.
Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

IPAs, Stouts, Hefewiezens, and Ales.

If you’re in Huntington or Wheeling this weekend, you’re bound to get a taste of some locally-brewed varieties at the Rails and Ales Festival or the Mountaineer Brewfest.

But, brewers from around the state aren’t just hoping to raise awareness about their products with these events, they’re also looking to influence the way they do business by getting the attention of state lawmakers.

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Politics
4:02 am
Wed August 13, 2014

In The Supposed 'War on Coal', West Virginia and Kentucky Parallel on Mining Jobs, Politics

Credit AllVoices.com

The "war on coal" is a phrase that's increasingly popular in Central Appalachia politics. With declines in coal jobs and new rules from the EPA to target carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, the words become hugely political--especially during an election year.

But the phrase's validity certainly begs question, at least according to a recent article by Erica Peterson of WFPL in Louisville.

Just last week, Peterson--who began her career as a reporter at West Virginia Public Broadcasting--detailed the ups and downs of Kentucky's coal jobs back to the Reagan administration beginning in 1981, examining the loss or gain of coal mining employment within that state across presidencies. What she found was, that if a war on coal exists in Kentucky, the blame goes farther back than President Barack Obama. 

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