Government

Economy
1:19 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

W.Va. Coalfields Senate Panel Sets First Meeting

A state Senate panel studying how to revitalize West Virginia's struggling southern coalfields has scheduled its first meeting.

The Southern Coalfields Organizing and Revitalizing the Economy initiative, or SCORE, group will meet Wednesday evening. The meeting will take place at the Raleigh County Commission on Aging in Beckley.

It's the first in a series of regional listening sessions. The group will then present recommendations for consideration in the 60-day legislative session starting in January.

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Higher Education
12:58 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

West Virginia University Expels Three Students for Riots

Credit Twitter

  Three West Virginia University students were expelled from campus Thursday for various acts of misconduct following Saturday's WVU-Baylor football game. 

Other students may also face University sanctions as various law enforcement agencies complete their investigations and reports and provide that information to the University. These cases are independent of any state or local criminal penalties and fines the students may face.

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FIOA
12:29 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

West Virginia DEP Ordered to Release Pollution Data

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

  A judge says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated the state's Freedom of Information Act when it denied a law firm's request for water pollution data.

Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Charles King ordered the DEP this week to provide the data to Appalachian Mountain Advocates.

The law firm sued the DEP after the agency denied its 2013 request for the most recent quarterly data showing water pollution levels at coal mines statewide. In the past, the DEP provided similar data in a spreadsheet format.

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City Government
10:24 am
Thu October 23, 2014

ACLU Criticizes Parkersburg's Panhandling Signs

  Parkersburg's panhandling signs are drawing criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia.

The signs discourage people from giving to panhandlers, saying it contributes to drug and alcohol abuse.

ACLU of West Virginia executive director Jennifer Meinig tells The Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the signs are defamatory. She says they suggest that all panhandlers suffer from drug and alcohol issues.

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West Virginia Morning
8:15 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Lawmakers Told WVOASIS Has More Problems, Group Prepares for Queer Film Festival

The director of WVOASIS, West Virginia's new integrated software platform, told lawmakers the fourth phase of the system will be delayed by at least three months after testing did not meet the required milestones. The opening of an expeditionary learning school in Huntington will also be delayed as crews work to renovate an old middle school into a facility equiped for a new style of learning.

The Appalachian Queer Film Festival begins this weekend in Lewisburg and it's director says it's okay to use that word.  

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State Government
7:22 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Official: WVOASIS Not Ready for Next Phase

WVOASIS Director Rick Pickens spoke to members of the Joint Committee on Government Organization on the House floor.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers were updated Wednesday on the roll out process of the state's new software system designed to integrate almost every function in government. 

The first phase of WVOASIS, or 'Our Advanced Solution with Integrated Systems, was implemented in August of 2013. It's latest phase took effect July of this year, but wasn't necessarily the smooth transition many state officials had hoped for.

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Government
2:18 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

House Health Chair: Committee Will Discuss Ebola Preparedness

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  The chairman of the House of Delegates Health and Human Resource committee says he will put discussion about the Ebola virus on the agenda when it meets next month. 

A letter signed by 11 Republican members of the committee asked Delegate Don Perdue to include the issue as a special agenda item during interim meetings in November.

The delegates recommend that the committee hear from Dr. Letitia Tierney, the Commissioner for the Bureau of Public Health and the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department about the steps that are being taken in West Virginia to address this serious health concern.  Perdue said today he has been in touch with Secretary of Health and Human Resources Karen Bowling about Ebola.

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Public Services
6:03 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Public Utilities Say Too Much Regulation From State

Delegates listen as Paul Calamita, counsel for the West Virginia Municipal Water Quality Association, addresses regulatory concerns.
Credit Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Services

A study paid for by local public water systems says the state public service commission over-regulates the utilities and is preventing them from providing better service to their customers.

The study was paid for by the West Virginia Rural Water Association, Municipal Water Quality Association, the West Virginia section of American Water Works Association and the West Virginia Water Environment Association.

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Higher Education
10:27 am
Tue October 21, 2014

W.Va. PROMISE Scholarship Recipients Increase

Credit West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

  A higher education official says more West Virginia high school seniors are qualifying for the state's PROMISE scholarship.

Higher Education Policy Commission financial aid senior director Brian Weingart also says the college graduation rate of PROMISE recipients is higher than the general student body's rate.

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Morgantown Riots
7:59 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Gee: Culture of the University Must Change

Credit West Virginia University

  West Virginia University President Gordon Gee says the culture of the university must change following riots that erupted after the football team's win over Baylor.

Gee says in a letter to the WUV community that setting fires and other incidents following Saturday night's game are unacceptable.

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Mine Safety
12:30 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Official: Hundreds of Miners Tested Positive for Drug Use in Past Two Years

Director of the West Virginia Office of Miner's Health, Safety and Training presented the updated information to the Joint Committee on Labor and Worker Safety Issues.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers received the latest numbers Monday on miners who have tested positive for drugs under a fairly new state law.

The law went to effect on January 1, 2013, that, among many other provisions, required coal mining operators and certain employers to implement a substance abuse screening program for miners and mine safety professionals.

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Government
11:40 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Randolph Co. Judge to Appeal Punishment for Affair

The West Virginia Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday over disciplinary action against a judge who had an inappropriate sexual affair.

Randolph County Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong admitted to having a two-year affair with William Travis Carter. At the time of their liaison, Carter was director of the North Central Community Corrections program in Elkins.

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Roads
9:50 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Corridor H Segment Expected to Open by Late November

  Another section of Corridor H in West Virginia is expected to open by Thanksgiving.

Corridor H coordinator Tommy Collins tells The Exponent Telegram that the 1.5-mile segment is near the connector to W.Va. Route 42 and W.Va. Route 93 in the Mount Storm area.

Collins says another 4-mile section could open by the end of the year. But he says an early spring opening is more likely due to the weather.

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News
12:21 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

WVU: Riots Following Baylor Upset Were 'Criminal', Expulsions Possible

Credit Associated Press

Morgantown authorities are assessing damage from riots that broke out following West Virginia's 41-27 win over No. 4 Baylor.

Police Chief Ed Preston said Sunday that crowds pushed over street lights and threw rocks, beer bottles and other items at public safety personnel and their vehicles. Numerous fires were set in the student-dominated Sunnyside area and other parts of the city.

Preston says in a news release that police used pepper spray and chemical munitions to disperse the crowds. Police arrested several people on various charges.

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Law & Order
3:42 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Kanawha Co. Delegate Arrested for DUI

Credit West Virginia Regional Jail Authority

A West Virginia state lawmaker has been arrested for driving under the influence.

Del. Doug Skaff from South Charleston was arrested Saturday morning in Monongalia County.

Skaff is a Democrat and the chairman of the House of Delegates Small Business and Economic Development Committee. He is a candidate for state Senate.

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West Virginia Morning
8:15 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Revitalizing the Economy of Southern W.Va. and Studying Natural Gas

 Senate President Jeff Kessler announced the creation of SCORE, Southern Coalfields Organizing and Revitalizing their Economy, Thursday. The program will send a group of senators to the southern part of the state to hear from citizens about what they can do to revitalize the area's economy.

A West Virginia transplant in Doddridge County moved here to enjoy the rural area, but soon after, saw well pads being placed within sight of her home. Now, she invites scientists, students, and even reporters to come study the health affects of the activity from her home.

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Benefits
4:45 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Same Sex Couples Are Now Covered by PEIA

A spokeswoman for the Department of Administration confirmed Thursday that married, same sex couples in West Virginia are now able to apply for coverage under the state's Public Employee Insurance Agency.

The change comes after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey decided last week to no longer defend the state's gay marriage ban in federal court. Governor Tomblin soon after released a statement directing state agencies to "take appropriate action" to make the practice legal in West Virginia, including the reprinting of marriage license applications.

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Economy
4:28 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Senate Task Force to Aid Southern W.Va. Coalfields

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Senate President Jeff Kessler is setting up a task force as part of a push to help West Virginia's struggling southern coalfields.

On Thursday, the Marshall County Democrat announced the Southern Coalfields Organizing and Revitalizing the Economy initiative, or SCORE.

The program is based off the Shaping our Appalachian Region program, which has similar goals for eastern Kentucky's hurting coalfields.

Kessler's 13-member Senate task force will look at a variety of ways to revitalize the coalfields.

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Election 2014
11:27 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Rahall Outspends Jenkins More Than 2-to-1

  Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall spent $1.2 million last quarter for his tough re-election bid, more than double what GOP opponent Evan Jenkins spent.

As political ads flooded the airwaves in the race, Jenkins spent $542,800 last quarter.

Seeking his 20th term, Rahall raised $487,200 from July through September and had $381,700 cash left. Jenkins, a state senator, raised $307,200 and had $461,400 in his campaign account.

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Higher Education
2:34 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Number of CTC Degrees Awarded in W.Va. Growing

WVCTC Chancellor James Skidmore discusses the community and technical college system with the state Board of Education.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Community and Technical College System of West Virginia has announced more than 4,500 degrees were awarded during the 2013-2014 school year.

Between 2009 and 2014, the number of certificate degrees awarded in the state more than doubled from 539 to 1,476.

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