Government

Election 2014
6:19 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Tennant, Capito Focus on Coal at Chamber of Commerce Forum

Candidates Shelley Moore Capito and Natalie Tennant discuss the logistics of the debate with moderator Scott Rotruck.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is focusing on energy, education and elections at their annual business summit in White Sulfur Springs this week, but the election component is taking a front seat as the Chamber hosts forums to allow candidates for Congressional offices to debate.

Scott Rotruck of the law firm Spillman Thomas and Battle served as moderator for the forum that had both Natalie Tennant and Shelley Moore Capito sitting on the same stage.

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Government
10:31 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Audit: Agriculture Dept. Gave $662,000 to Failing Farmer's Market

Credit West Virginia Department of Agriculture

  An audit says the state Department of Agriculture spent $662,000 in federal money on refrigeration upgrades at a failing farmer's market.

Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred wrote that the Inwood Farmer's Market has lost about $100,000 annually over six consecutive years, including 2013. The Berkeley County market was awarded the grant in June 2011.

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Chemical Spill
10:26 am
Thu August 28, 2014

House, Senate Leaders Urge Delay in West Virginia Tank Law

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  State House and Senate leaders are urging the governor to call a special session to delay part of an aboveground storage tank law.

House Speaker Tim Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler asked Gov.  Tomblin to call the session during next month's interim meetings. They're slated for Sept. 8-10.

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Investigation
9:36 am
Thu August 28, 2014

W.Va. PSC Chair Steps Down from Chemical Spill Probe

  The state Public Service Commission's chairman has removed himself from an investigation into a water company's response to a January chemical spill.

The Charleston Gazette reports PSC Chairman Mike Albert cited his previous work as an attorney representing West Virginia American Water in stepping down from the spill investigation.

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Public Records
9:34 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Fee Plan for Some Public Filings Halted in W.Va.

Credit Flickr / davidwilson1949

The Secretary of State's Office has scrubbed plans to charge fees to obtain public filings for businesses and organizations.

The Charleston Gazette reports the change scheduled to begin Sept. 4 was rescinded by Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office Thursday.

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Legislature
8:20 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Lawmakers Tour North Central West Virginia During Interim Meetings

Harrison County Delegate Richard Iaquinta interacts with a resident of the Clarksburg Veterans' Nursing Home.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  State lawmakers wrapped up their August interim meetings Wednesday, but legislators decided to take the show on the road this month, meeting in Bridgeport and touring parts of North Central West Virginia.

While some of their interim meetings were held in conference rooms around long tables just like in Charleston, many had delegates and senators out exploring the area.

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Admits 100 drug deals
3:51 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Mail Carrier Gets Probation For Selling Suboxone on the Job

A Greenbrier County mail carrier gets probation for selling a narcotic on the job.
Credit RayNata / wikimedia

A former mail carrier will spend three years on probation for making drug deals while on the job.

Jack Edwin McCoy also must perform community service and spend four months on home confinement.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced McCoy's sentence in a news release Wednesday.

The 30-year-old White Sulphur Springs resident had pleaded guilty in May to using a telephone in or near Lewisburg to set up a drug transaction.

Goodwin says McCoy then distributed a narcotic drug in Ronceverte to a person who was working with authorities.
 

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Investigation
6:14 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

PSC: Water Company Planning Info Needed in W.Va. Spill Probe

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

Regulators ordered a water company under investigation for its chemical spill response to produce emergency plans and information potentially protected by anti-terrorism laws.

The state Public Service Commission ordered West Virginia American Water on Friday to produce many documents it opposed releasing.

The PSC says some information potentially shielded by state and federal laws can be considered. It will be confidential from the public.

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Misconduct
4:39 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Hearing Board Recommends W.Va. Judge Suspension

Credit The Inter-Mountain

  The West Virginia Judicial Hearing Board has recommended a less severe suspension than a special counsel sought for a Randolph County judge who acknowledged having an affair with a community corrections official.

The board Friday recommended a three-year suspension, censure and $20,000 fine for Circuit Judge Jaymie Wilfong.

The board found Wilfong violated several canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct, including maintaining the integrity of and public confidence in the judiciary and avoiding the impression of improper influence.

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Chemical Spill
4:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

West Virginia to Study Elk River Fish Life After Chemical Spill

Credit AP

  The state will survey fish life in the Elk River after a massive chemical spill polluted the waterway in January.

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Fish Health Laboratory in Leetown will aid the state Division of Natural Resources in the project next week.

The Freedom Industries spill contaminated the drinking water supply for 300,000 people for days.

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Public Housing
2:41 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Demolition to Start at Huntington Housing Complex

Credit Lori Wolfe / The Herald-Dispatch

Demolition is expected to start next week at a Huntington public housing complex.

Huntington West Virginia Housing Authority Executive Director Vickie Lester tells The Herald-Dispatch that demolition on three buildings at the Northcott Court Housing Complex will likely begin Monday. The work is expected to take up to three years.

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Investigation
10:06 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Improvised Explosive Devices, Chickens, Marijuana Found in I-79 Crash

Credit Katelyn Sykes / WCHS-TV

West Virginia State Police say altered fireworks, weapons, chickens and marijuana were found inside an SUV that wrecked on Interstate 79, and the driver from Pennsylvania has been arrested.

Police say a Ford Explorer carrying dozens of chickens flipped in Roane County about 3:30 a.m. Friday.

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Chemical Spill
1:39 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Airport, Chemical Company Want Spill Lawsuits Dismissed

Credit AP

An airport and a chemical producer want claims dismissed in a lawsuit partly targeting them over a January chemical spill.

In U.S. District Court in Charleston, Yeager Airport filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss claims in the wide-spanning lawsuit. Plaintiffs say the Charleston airport's now-complete runway project contributed to the spill that left 300,000 residents without clean water for days.

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Mine Safety
1:32 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

W.Va. Agency to Receive Mine Safety Funding

Credit www.mine-engineer.com

West Virginia is receiving more than $560,000 in health and safety training grants from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The funding is part of $8.3 million in grants for 47 states and the Navajo Nation in fiscal year 2014. The state funds are being given to the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training in Charleston.

Officials say grantees will use the funds to provide federally mandated training and retraining to miners. Some states use these grants to support their mine emergency response efforts and other functions.

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Election 2014
10:45 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Capito, Tennant to Compete in Chamber Forum

Democrat Natalie Tennant and Republican Shelley Moore Capito will attend a U.S. Senate candidate forum next week.

State Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts says they'll participate in the Aug. 28 event as part of the chamber's annual meeting at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.

In the 2nd Congressional District, Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney will participate in a chamber forum Aug 29. The same day, Democrat Glen Gainer and Republican Congressman David McKinley will attend a 1st District forum.

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Nature
10:01 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Photos Sought for W.Va. Wildflower Calendar

Credit Cecelia Mason / WV Public Radio

Wildflower photos are being sought for West Virginia's next "Roadsides in Bloom" calendar.

The state departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation are sponsoring the 12th annual West Virginia Operation Wildflower calendar photo contest. 

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Education
9:58 am
Thu August 21, 2014

W.Va. Gets NASA Funding for STEM Education

Credit NASA

West Virginia is sharing more than $17.3 million from NASA to increase student and faculty engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at community colleges and technical schools.

Officials say the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia is getting funding through the National Space Grant and Fellowship Program.

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Mine Permit
7:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

DEP Says Not Enough Evidence Will Harm Appeal Against Kanawha State Forest Mine

Members of the Kanawha Forest Coalition stood outside the DEP's Kanawha City office to oppose the mine permit.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Surface Mine Board has finished hearing testimony in the appeal of a mine located next to the Kanawha State Forest.

In the second day of hearings, board members heard testimony from the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, employees of the DEP and a consultant who helped write the mine permit, among others.

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Education
4:19 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Overall ACT Scores Unchanged in West Virginia

Credit ACT

  The average score of West Virginia students taking the ACT college entrance exam remained the same for the fourth straight year.

The state Department of Education says overall test scores in West Virginia this year averaged 20.6.

Students showed a slight improvement in reading scores at 21.4. Scores were unchanged in science at 20.6 and math at 19.5, while English scores dipped slightly to 20.4.

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Public Safety
11:38 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Here's the Department of Defense Equipment that West Virginia's Police Have Received Since 2006

A photo of a Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected vehicle, similar to the one McDowell Co. law enforcement acquired through the 1033 program from the Department of Defense's Law Enforcement Support Office.
Credit Grippenn / wikimedia Commons

Over 500 weapons and hundreds more pieces of military-grade tactical equipment have been transferred to the state of West Virginia since 2006 through a Department of Defense program known as the 1033 program. The transfers came through the Defense Logistics Agency's Law Enforcement Support Office, or LESO.

An investigation released Tuesday by The New York Times outlines transfers from the program to states, who coordinate with local law enforcement to acquire and distribute the weapons and equipment. 

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