e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

A severe decline in the state's severance tax revenues has Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin calling for yet another round of budget cuts for state agencies, as well as other cost saving measures. 

Tomblin announced the cuts through a press release Monday evening. 

The mid-year, across-the-board 4 percent agency cuts combined with a 1 percent decrease in state aid to public schools-- a budget item typically protected from reductions-- will help make up for the projected $250 million deficit expected during the 2016 Fiscal Year.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Charleston roofing contractor for exposing workers to excessive heat.

The agency said Monday that one employee of Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. was hospitalized for a heat-related illness on Sept. 11 while the company was removing tile roofing from Building 3 at the Capitol Complex.

Volkswagen Diesel Engine
Magnus Manske / wikimedia commons

The West Virginia Attorney General's Office has filed a civil complaint against 

  Volkswagen of America, Inc. over the automaker's emissions-rigging scandal.

AP Photo/Jeff Gentner / AP

The latest developments in the federal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. All times are local:

7:10 p.m.

The third day of jury selection wrapped Monday evening just before 5 p.m. in a Charleston federal courtroom. 

According to court documents, 13 jurors were excused from the jury pool. There is no indication in the document how many total jurors were questioned or how many were chosen to remain in the jury pool. 

In a court transcript, Judge Irene Berger said last week she was looking for 35 jurors for the smaller pool from the larger pool of 300 jurors who received questionnaires earlier this year.

From that 35, attorneys from both sides will be able to disqualify a number of jurors without question.  The judge is looking for a jury of 12 with 2-3 alternates.

Joanne Jaeger Tomblin

State officials are launching a Read-Aloud campaign to educate children about fire safety.

The campaign features fire-safety themed books provided to county school systems and firefighters across the state by the State Fire Marshal's Office. Firefighters will visit schools and read the books to students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia man who spent nearly eight years waiting for an appeal after being convicted of attempted murder has been set free.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that 27-year-old Brashan M. Beverly was released Sept. 18.

A memo newly filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office depicts concerns a former Massey Energy employee, and key witness in the prosecution’s case, had over safety within Massey’s mines, warning the company needed to “change the way we do business.”

West Virginia Legislature

Martin "Rick" Atkinson III of Reedy has been appointed to fill a vacancy in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Atkinson's appointment to the 11th District seat on Sunday. The 11th District covers Roane County.

Atkinson replaces former Delegate Bob Ashley, who was appointed to the West Virginia Senate on Sept. 15.

West Virginia University's Beckley campus is the new home of former U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall's papers.

Rahall donated 2,000 boxes of testimony, speeches, news releases and other documents to WVU. The documents will be curated and maintained on the WVU Beckley campus.

The university says in a news release that more than 150 people attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday celebrating Rahall's donation.

The West Virginia Supreme Court is considering whether the state Board of Education can be sued by a former superintendent over her firing.

 The board has asked the court to overturn a circuit judge's ruling denying its request to dismiss Jorea Marple's lawsuit. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the appeal on Tuesday.

Marple was fired in 2012. She sued the board and a former board president last year, alleging defamation, violation of due process rights and violation of open meetings law.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

A federal judge has rejected a motion arguing that evidence doesn't support punitive damages for an Ohio woman who says she got cancer after drinking water contaminated by a chemical discharged from a DuPont plant.

The case might help settle thousands of similar lawsuits about the chemical giant's dumping of C8 into local drinking water.

Plaintiff Clara Bartlett alleges Delaware-based DuPont didn't inform the public but knew potential risks posed by C8 that was deposited into the Ohio River by a plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Potential jurors have returned to a Charleston courtroom Friday as Federal District Judge Irene Berger continues to try to seat a jury in the trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

West Virginia Turnpike
Seicer / wikimedia Commons

  West Virginia highways officials are planning 11 informational meetings around the state to seek input about potential future projects.

The Department of Transportation is developing a list of expansion, resurfacing and other transit projects for fiscal years 2016 through 2021. The list will be available for discussion.

Don Blankenship
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The latest developments in the federal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. All times are local:

2:05 p.m.

The judge in the case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship said she would require exhibits used in the trial to be available for the media the next day.

Fotolia DollarPhoto Club

Public hearings are set this month on a proposed federal rule to require coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and scoops with sensors intended to curb fatalities and injuries in underground mines.

The sensors automatically shut down equipment when people get too close.

syringe, needles
wikimedia commons

West Virginia's first syringe exchange program has received a $75,000 grant to expand.

The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington reports that the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation awarded the grant Thursday to support education and risk reduction programs for drug-addicted individuals. The syringe exchange program was started in September by the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.

Ethics Commission

The West Virginia Ethics Commission has fined the mayor of Marmet $2,000.

The commission announced the fine and public reprimand Thursday against Mayor Bill Pauley. In an agreement with the commission, Pauley admitted using his office for private gain.

pipeline construction
Emmuzka / wikimedia commons

Customers of Mountaineer Gas and Dominion Hope could see small increases in their monthly bills to fund infrastructure replacement and upgrade programs.

Both companies have asked the Public Service Commission to approve such programs, which include surcharges to pay for projects.

Don Blankenship
Joel Ebert / The Charleston Gazette-Mail

The trial of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship began Thursday, Oct. 1, in Charleston. Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards and lying to investors about the safety record of his company following the April 2010, Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 men.

AP Photo/Sergii Ryzhkov

West Virginia University will research new ideas and technologies to improve the safety of pipelines used to transport energy resources.

The research will be supported by a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's pipeline and hazardous materials safety administration.