Government

Drug courts are becoming a more and more popular option for judges dealing with minor drug offenders in West Virginia. Instead of being incarcerated, offenders go through a highly structured, highly monitored rehabilitative process overseen by a probation officer and counselor.

Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Abortions are now banned 20 weeks after conception in West Virginia.

The ban became effective Tuesday, despite Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's disapproval.

Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former coal boss Don Blankenship wants his July trial start delayed until January.

In a motion in Beckley federal court Friday, attorneys for the ex-Massey Energy CEO say they wouldn't be prepared for a July 13 trial start.

West Virginia State Treasurer's Office

West Virginia's latest unclaimed property auction features a rare penny that Treasurer John Perdue expects will draw attention from coin collectors.

The 1909-S VDB penny is among a variety of items that will be offered for sale. The penny is ranked 14th in the second edition of "100 Greatest U.S. Coins." Its appraised value is $500.

A law that goes into effect on May 27 allows police officers and those close to addicts to carry the opioid overdose antidote drug Naloxone. While law enforcement officials generally agree that it’s a good idea to carry the drug, there are some questions about safety, training and exactly how the new law will be implemented.

“I totally agree with trying to address the problem at its root but there are a lot of other issues that have to be overcome along the way,” Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

As Republican lawmakers prepared to take the helm of both the state House of Delegates and Senate for the first time in more than 80 years this legislative session, they were questioned over and over again about their priorities. Those priorities became clear on the first day of the session when Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Bill Cole introduced the first 15 bills their party would pursue. 

Number nine of those 15: the Opioid Antagonist Act. 

City of Elkins / flikr.com

State police say officers shot a man in Elkins after he pointed a handgun at them.

 

State police say 25-year-old Preston L. Burrows was critically injured and was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

 

The incident began around 3:30 a.m. Saturday when a resident called 911 and reported that a man was banging on his door and shouting that he would kill himself if the door wasn't opened.

Division of Highways

A former employee faces charges of stealing thousands of dollars' worth of equipment and supplies from the West Virginia Division of Highways.

 

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Maryland, says a Berkeley County grand jury indicted 57-year-old William Robert Smallwood of Martinsburg on Friday. Smallwood is charged with felony obtaining money or goods by false pretenses, fraudulent use of a credit card and embezzlement.

Mingo County, Williamson
Flonight / wikimedia Commons

A crew from Coalfield Development Corp. that's remodeling a former warehouse in Williamson, West Virginia, is part of a broad effort to tackle empty or unkempt buildings in Appalachia.

 

Rural blight is a legacy of the coal industry's boom-and-bust nature in many communities in West Virginia and its neighbors.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole will be the honorary starter for the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

West Virginia Encyclopedia

Recreational boaters can travel the Upper Monongahela River without hindrance for the first time in several years.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed to reopen the Opekiska and Hildebrand locks for recreational use. The locks will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends for a total of 18 days during the summer.

The corps also has opened the Morgantown Lock on weekends.

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Two former Freedom Industries executives have been arraigned on a second superseding indictment stemming from a massive chemical spill last January.

The indictment contains a new charge against former Freedom President Gary Southern dealing with the company's bankruptcy. It restates original charges against him and former Freedom official Dennis Farrell.

Southern faces an additional count of lying under oath in bankruptcy court. He faces up to 93 years in prison if convicted.

wvtourism.com

The state Division of Tourism has introduced a website and brochure on West Virginia's military heritage ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

The West Virginia Supreme Court says a circuit judge wrongly dismissed more than 50 criminal counts against a former Shepherd University administrator.

The court says in a Wednesday opinion that former Shepherd dean of student affairs Elizabeth A. Shanton can be prosecuted on the charges because they don't violate double jeopardy principles.

The U.S. Census Bureau says Charleston is hanging on as the only city in West Virginia with a population over 50,000, while Morgantown is now the state's third-largest city.

Census estimates released Thursday show Charleston had 50,404 residents in 2014. That's down about 1,000 from the 2010 Census.

gavel
wikimedia / Wikimedia

West Virginia authorities have arrested a Tennessee man charged with running over and killing his wife with a pickup truck.

Media outlets report that West Virginia State Police troopers arrested 38-year-old Chad Everette Henry of Henderson, Tennessee, on Wednesday at a pipeline yard near Bridgeport. State police say Henry had been working at the site.

en.wikipedia.com

Members of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways released their final recommendations Wednesday after a 20 month delay.

The commission was charged by Gov. Tomblin in 2012 with finding new revenue sources for the state’s aging roadways.

The 57 page report recommends lawmakers increase DMV fees and the state sales tax on motor vehicles. Those two increases, along with a new annual fee on alternative fuel vehicles, would create more than $115 million in new revenue.

Division of Highways

  The West Virginia Division of Highways says a Kentucky company is the apparent low bidder for a contract to upgrade a section of U.S. 35.

Bizzack Construction, LLC of Lexington, Kentucky, bid $174.4 million to design, build and finance the project.

The 14.6-mile section runs from State Route 869 in Putnam County to County Route 40 in Mason County. It's the final section to be upgraded to four lanes.

The DOH says Bizzack's bid is one of five accepted on Wednesday from contractors. State officials now will review Bizzack's bid.

Delegate Clif Moore
West Virginia Legislature

A McDowell County lawmaker has been fined $100 after pleading no contest to a drunken driving charge.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that Delegate Clif Moore entered his plea on Tuesday to non-aggravated driving under the influence. He was fined and sentenced to time served.

A national report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says West Virginia is one of just three states that has consecutively cut higher education funding in the past two years. The report focused on the cuts state lawmakers approved for colleges and universities across the country after the 2008 economic downturn.

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