Government

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.

Woodburn Hall, West Virginia University
Richinstead / wikimedia Commons

A report released this month by the national Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looked at states across the country that cut their higher education budgets in the wake of the 2008 economic downturn.

West Virginia Turnpike
Seicer / wikimedia Commons

More than a year and a half after its initially announced release date, members of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways are set to release their final report Wednesday.

The commission began its work in October 2012, studying the state’s highway system, polling West Virginians on their priorities and compiling a list of new revenue sources as well as efficiencies.

In September 2013, the group held their final meeting to discuss recommendations, which include increasing the motor vehicle sales tax and DMV fees as well as continuing tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike to leverage more than $1 billion for new construction.

wikimedia Commons / user: Brianhayden1980

 Former Massey Energy CEO Donald Blankenship's lawyers have asked a federal appeals court to assign his criminal case to a judge outside the Southern District of West Virginia.

A defense motion filed Monday with the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the district's judges should be disqualified from the case because their colleague, U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin, is the father of U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. The prosecutor's father doesn't handle criminal cases in the district.

Freedom Industries
AP

 Attorneys for two former executives charged in a chemical spill say their clients can't get a fair trial in West Virginia.

Attorneys for former Freedom Industries officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell asked a federal judge on Monday to move their trial to a district outside the state. The defense motion says a survey found an overwhelming presumption of guilt among potential jurors.

Dept. of Defense

Veterans and active duty military personnel will receive discounted rates at West Virginia State Parks.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance says the program will give a year-round 10 percent discount on all standard lodge rooms, cabins and campsites.

Division of Highways

A new report says West Virginia's rural roads and bridges are among the worst in the nation.

The report by transportation research group TRIP says 29 percent of major rural roads in West Virginia were in poor condition in 2013. That's the sixth highest rate in the nation.

Members of the Joint Committee on Tax Reform continued their work at the Capitol this week reviewing the state's current tax code and looking for ways to improve it. The Monday session brought national policy and tax experts to Charleston to review what other states have done in the areas of reform.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Joint Committee on Tax Reform met in Charleston this week to carry on the new committee’s quest to improve the business climate in West Virginia.

The group looked to leaders from national policy and tax reform organizations to learn about the progress, or in some cases regress, other states are making as they take on changes in their tax codes.

Representatives of the Tax Foundation, a D.C. think tank, and the National Council of State Legislatures both presented lawmakers with reviews of the tax reform initiatives states across the country have taken in recent years.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

Lawmakers met at the Capitol in Charleston Monday to show support for US Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s proposed legislation that will roll back the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan in West Virginia.

Senator Capito’s proposed legislation is called ARENA, or the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act. Co-sponsored by US Senator Joe Manchin, the bill would provide a way for a state’s governor to opt out of a state or federal plan that could negatively impact economic growth or electricity ratepayers.

Gov. Tomblin
Office of the Governor

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday a federal disaster declaration has been approved for 12 counties in the state. 

Teams of high school and middle school students gathered in South Charleston over the weekend to compete to design the best virtual bridge.

BridgeValley Community and Technical College hosted the West Virginia Design Contest at the Advanced Technology Center in South Charleston. Thirty-nine high school and middle school teams entered the competition for a chance to win nearly $7,000.  

A grade school displaced by a massive church fire in Benwood will permanently move to Moundsville and receive a new name.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports Saints James & John School has operated at the former St. Francis Xavier Grade School building in Moundsville since a March 30 fire destroyed the adjoining St. John Catholic Church.

Fairmont City Police Cruiser
Sarah Lowther Hensley

Police in West Virginia say a Baltimore teenager has been charged with striking a police cruiser with his vehicle.

Records at the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver show 19-year-old Joshua Jerome Brown was being held without bond Monday on one count each of attempted murder and reckless fleeing.

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