Government

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A Kanawha County school counselor was recognized for his work at a recent White House function.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports 37-year-old Todd Roatsey and other state representatives for the National Counselor of the Year Award attended a ceremony Jan. 28, where they met First Lady Michelle Obama, among others.

Sam Owens / The Charleston Gazette-Mail

The first female brigadier general in West Virginia's history has officially been named.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a ceremony was held Saturday to promote Brig. Gen. Paige B. Hunter to the senior rank at the 130th Airlift Wing at the McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston.

cityofransonwv.net

Longtime Ranson Mayor David Hamill has died of cancer. He was 71.

City Manager Andy Blake and Ranson deputy mayor Duke Pierson announced in separate statements that Hamill died on Friday.

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Bankrupt coal producer Alpha Natural Resources has announced planned layoffs in West Virginia for the third time in a month.

9 mm handgun
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West Virginia law bars domestic abusers from having guns, but gun safety groups say more can be done.

In 2000, West Virginia made it illegal for people convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse to have a gun. In 2012, the state began requiring that domestic violence protective orders ban respondents from having guns.

Classroom
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Fayette County Schools will eliminate professional jobs and service personnel in an effort to match funding the state allows for such positions.

Fayette Superintendent Terry George tells the Register-Herald that the county will reduce staff by 9.5 professional positions and 8.5 service jobs next school year. Positions set to be eliminated will end June 30.

Highway, Traffic
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The West Virginia State Police say traffic fatalities in the state continued to decline in 2015.

State Police tell WVVA-TV that roadway deaths are down from 337 killed in 2012 to 270 in 2015. Troopers with the Governor's Highway Safety Program attribute the decline to an increase in targeted patrols across the state.

After a veto last year, the push to let West Virginians drink raw milk through animal-sharing agreements is regaining steam.

On Friday, the state Senate voted 22-12 on the raw milk bill, sending the proposal to the House of Delegates.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
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A Pennsylvania man has pleaded guilty to participating in a ring that sold heroin and prescription drugs in West Virginia.

Kalif Briggs faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The 33-year-old resident of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Clarksburg to aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone.

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State education officials say 25 counties plan to submit proposals this month for certifying teachers who don't have a formal education background.

Approved by lawmakers last year, it allows for the alternative certification of teachers in some high-need areas. The state Board of Education approved a policy in September establishing the certification process.

Paul Farrell Jr.
greeneketchum.com/

Huntington Lawyer Paul Farrell recently decided to get on the ballot for president in the state. What might have begun as a joke for Farrell is no longer a laughing matter.

Paul Farrell Jr. is a medical malpractice lawyer in Huntington. He’s never been involved in politics before and never thought he would be. But he said he worries more and more about the state he’s from and calls home, West Virginia. On Sunday mornings Farrell along with his two brothers have breakfast at his father’s house. 

House of Delegates
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photograhy

In a close vote, members of the House of Delegates have approved a bill to make West Virginia a Right-to-Work state. Delegates voted 54 to 46, with some Republicans joining the Democratic minority in opposition.

Members debated the bill for nearly five hours Thursday before the final vote.

Senate Bill 1, the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, makes it illegal to fire a worker for refusing to join a union or pay union dues or fees.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bankrupt chemical company responsible for a spill that contaminated a West 

  Virginia river and fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 residents has been sentenced to the maximum possible penalty on pollution charges.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The West Virginia Senate has approved a bill to repeal the state’s prevailing wage on a party line vote. The bill now heads to Governor Tomblin for a signature.

Lawmakers voted 18-16 Thursday with only Republicans supporting the legislation.

Huntington Police Department

Law enforcement agencies have received more than $1 million in forfeited cash for their participation in an investigation of a Barboursville pharmacy owner.

Federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service announced the award Wednesday for the Charleston and Huntington police departments and the Boone County Sheriff's Department.

gavel
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An assistant prosecutor in McDowell County has pleaded guilty to a federal tax crime committed while working in private practice.

Acting U.S. Attorney Carol Casto says 38-year-old Jason Ray Grubb of Beaver entered the plea in federal court in Beckley on Wednesday to failing to pay employment taxes.

Aerial view of Yeager Airport
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

A small private plane skidded off the taxiway at Yeager Airport in Charleston.

The plane went off into the grass toward the end of the taxiway Wednesday night.

Director of the State Budget Office Mike McKown , Secretary of revenue Bob Kiss and Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow in the House Chambers.
Ashton Marra

State officials say January's tax collections provided no signs of an economic turn for West Virginia.

The state collected $374.3 million in revenue last month. Those figures were down $9.8 million from January 2015 and missed estimates by $11.5 million.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

The State Election Commission, led by Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, has taken up objections to individual contributions for Supreme Court candidates seeking public campaign financing.


Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

In the House Wednesday, Delegates made changes to the Right-to-Work bill, which will be up for a vote in the chamber Thursday.

Senate Bill 1 was on second reading in the House. This is the West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act, or more commonly known as Right-to-Work.

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