A black West Virginia teenager had a BB gun in his waistband but nothing in his hands when he was fatally shot by a white man, a police detective has testified.

According to police, 15-year-old James Means was shot in the chest and in the back Nov. 21 by 62-year-old William Pulliam after they bumped into each other outside a Charleston store and twice exchanged words.

The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency has approved more than $50 million in 2017-18 health insurance plan benefits cuts for state and public school employees, many non-state public employees, and retirees.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the PEIA Finance Board approved the cuts Thursday. The plan includes $28 million in benefit cuts for state and public school employees, primarily through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums as well as mandatory 90-day prescription fills for maintenance drugs for chronic conditions.

Potomac River
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After threatening to sue the state of Maryland, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has announced that Maryland is halting the permitting process that would have restricted West Virginia's use of the Potomac River.

News outlets report that Morrisey had told Maryland officials in early November that the state of Maryland could not impose regulations on West Virginia's rights to draw from the river.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

This weekend, members of the West Virginia Legislature will return to Charleston for their December interim meetings.

Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate will meet behind closed doors Sunday separately to choose the next Senate President and House Speaker, and the two chamber minority leaders, all influential posts.

But with a Democratic governor and a Republican majority in both legislative chambers, there’s one position that seems to control policy a little more than the others: West Virginia's next Senate President.

AP Photo / Alex Brandon

Sen.  Joe Manchin is attempting to put pressure on Congressional leaders in Washington to take quick action on a bill to save the healthcare and pension benefits of thousands of coal miners. 

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

The West Virginia Supreme Court denied a Logan County circuit judge's appeal to remain on the bench and wrote that voters can't be penalized because of errors made by poll workers.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that after losing his race by 59 votes to Joshua Butcher in May, Judge Douglas Witten argued that irregularities in the polls should void the votes cast at several county precincts.

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A doctor who ran a drug clinic in Raleigh County has been accused of illegally distributing oxycodone to three patients who later died.

The Register-Herald reports Dr. Michael Kostenko was arrested Wednesday on numerous federal charges, including three counts of distributing oxycodone that resulted in the deaths of three patients.

Interstate Lighting
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 The Kanawha County Commission is asking the West Virginia Department of Transportation to fix non-working lights along interstates.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper announced Tuesday that at least 135 lights are out on several stretches of state-maintained roads. Carper says he sent a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox citing safety concerns and asking about the status of plans to fix the lights.

Nicholas County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

Nicholas County School District has been awarded a federal grant of more than $2.1 million for temporary facilities to replace schools damaged in June floods.

U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins announced the grant Wednesday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

WV State Police Cruiser

State Highway Patrol troopers in Ohio and their counterparts in five neighboring states will target impaired driving in an enforcement effort this weekend.

The effort starts early Friday and continues through Sunday. It will include the state police agencies from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Jim Justice Victory Speech
Walter Scriptunas II / AP

The Transition Team for Governor-elect Jim Justice announced Wednesday that Marshall and West Virginia Universities will play a role in his move into office.


The Transition Team says they’ll gather experts from both universities to help with the changeover. According to a press release, both research institutions will help facilitate policy discussions and proposals for the new administration.

Recreational Trail
The Bushranger / Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia officials say federal funds have been awarded for 54 community and infrastructure projects statewide for $7 million.

They include $1.16 million for 14 recreational trails and $5.9 million to support 40 transportation alternatives and other projects.

9 mm handgun
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West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says the recent fatal shooting of a Charleston teenager again raises policy questions over the state law enacted over his veto that allows residents to carry a concealed gun without a permit.

Tomblin says James Means' death Nov. 21 has shaken the Charleston community.

wikimedia / Wikimedia

West Virginia regulators have settled a lawsuit brought against Alpha Natural Resources over concerns about the coal producer's reclamation obligations as it emerges from bankruptcy.

A Virginia court approved Alpha's bankruptcy plan in July. But in November, Alpha revealed $100 million in unaccounted-for expenses.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

In West Virginia politics over the past decade, one trend gets a lot of attention: the trend from blue to red. More statewide and federal offices in West Virginia are held by Republicans after this year’s election than have been in decades.


But there’s another trend-- one that can be seen nationwide--that’s also apparent in West Virginia elections.

As one of the few school districts in the state that is growing, Jefferson County Schools could be redistricted to shift students from fast-growing schools to ones growing at a slower rate.

The Journal of Martinsburg reports Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson outlined the district's proposed plan to the Board of Education at its meeting Monday night.

West Virginia Turnpike
Seicer / wikimedia Commons

Officials say the West Virginia Turnpike had its highest Thanksgiving holiday travel period this year in at least a decade.

State Parkways Authority spokesman Greg Barr says there were more than 783,000 toll transactions along the 88-mile Turnpike between Wednesday and Sunday.

A bill to protect health care and pension benefits for about 120,000 retired coal miners would save money over the next decade, according to a new report.

West Virginia Turnpike
Seicer / wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Division of Highways is planning to build a memorial at the Williamstown Interstate 77 welcome center honoring all of its highway workers who have died on the job.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Jones tells the Charleston Gazette-Mail the idea for the memorial came from DOH employees after a worker, 49-year-old Randy Bland, was struck and killed last year while working.

West Virginia University's law school is trying to raise awareness about rent-to-own housing scams following last summer's flooding.

The school's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic is creating a series of educational materials about the potential dangers of some purchase options at the end of leases. The university says the clinic is attempting to answer common questions faced by families in bad property leases.