Government

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders attended a rally Sunday in Charleston billed as an effort to “protect our health care.” Supporters demanded that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., vote against the latest U.S. Senate health care bill.

Flood, Elkview
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bridge that was washed out in flooding last year is being replaced at a mall in West Virginia, and almost all of the businesses are expected to reopen.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports representatives of the businesses and rent documents from Crossings Mall owner Tara Retail Group indicate 23 of the 26 businesses open at the Elkview mall when the June 23, 2016, flood occurred are expected to reopen.

islandjoe / creativecommons.org

The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission is slated to attend a broadband summit next month in Ohio.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that Mignon Clyburn will attend the Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit and Town Hall on July 18 in Marietta.

Gage Skidmore / AP Photo

President Donald Trump has tapped a Democratic county clerk from West Virginia to join a national elections panel aimed at investigating voter fraud allegations.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes learned Thursday that he'll join the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Greenbrier Valley Airport

The Greenbrier Valley Airport has been awarded a $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Republican U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins says the money will be used to buy an aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle, improving safety for passengers and crews.

Airport Director Stephen Snyder thanked federal and state officials for the working to obtain the grant. In his words: "Without funding at the federal and state level, these projects would be impossible."

The airport in Lewisburg serves the Greenbrier, Homestead and Snowshoe Mountain resorts.

WVPB

Governor Jim Justice is set to sign into a law today groundbreaking legislation that will increase funding for state roads.

Justice will sign Senate Bil 1006 today that increase funding for the  State Road Fund. It does so by raising the flood on the average wholesale price for gas, creating a registration fee for cards that do not use gasoline and increasing the sales tax on vehicle purchases. It will also increase DMV fees.

John Oliver
Charles Sykes / AP

Coal company Murray Energy has sued HBO and its Sunday-night host, John Oliver, for what it says was a "false and malicious broadcast" last Sunday evening. It's seeking financial damages and a court order barring rebroadcasts of the segment's "defamatory statements."

Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" coal segment criticized the Trump administration's effort to revive the industry, saying coal jobs have dropped for decades and other energy alternatives are driving the industry's decline.

A topless protest is planned in West Virginia's capital city despite the mayor's request to reschedule.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports nearly 200 people have RSVP'd for "Free the Nip Top Freedom Rally" on Facebook. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones asked organizers on Wednesday to protest another day, accusing them of "seeking to parade naked in front of young children," as local arts nonprofit FestivALL has several kids' events planned also on Saturday.

The first hearing has been held in a lawsuit involving drug wholesale distributors accused of fueling West Virginia's heroin epidemic.

Tuesday in Charleston a legal team for several West Virginia counties argued damages are necessary for opioids' harmful impact on communities, alleging the firms breached their duty under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to oversee suspicious orders of prescriptions entering the state over the past several years.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice said the legislatively approved budget for the 2018 fiscal year will become law without his signature. 

“I can’t sign this. I can’t possibly sign this," Justice said.

Broadband Lawsuit
Bidgee / wikimedia commons

West Virginia's U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says $3 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help to provide broadband access in Barbour, Randolph and Upshur counties.

According to Capito's office, the grant will be matched with $450,000 in local funds to deploy fixed wireless broadband to over 3,500 households and business in the Central West Virginia Development Association LLC.

Huntington Police Department

Five former West Virginia police officers will return to their department after a city's projected $5 million budget deficit laid them off.

The Herald-Dispatch reported on Tuesday a City of Huntington statement says the five probationary officers will return to their posts starting July 3, and that police will also bring on a new officer from the department's civil service hiring list who will enter the state police academy in late August.

Joe Manchin
AP / Steve Helber

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is calling on Republican members of the U.S. Senate to open up their meetings about the new health care law, which is expected to be put to a vote in Congress before their July break. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from Major General James Hoyer about rebuilding efforts in parts of the state affected by last year's flooding. Inside Appalachia host Jessica also speaks with Hoyer about what the National Guard learned from the flood.

We also hear more about our Struggle to Stay series.

A West Virginia House of Delegates leader has asked state agencies to review the licenses of four men who have admitted to taking part in a kickback scheme involving the Division of Highways.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports House Government Organization Chairman Gary Howell sent letters last week to the Board of Registration for Professional Engineers, the Contractors Licensing Board and the state Purchasing Division.

Perry Bennet / WV Legislative Photography

On this West Virginia Morning, lawmakers in Charleston have agreed on a budget deal and sent a bill to Gov. Jim Justice. Ashton Marra speaks with Jesse Wright about what is and isn't in the budget.

We also begin a series stories in recognition of the one-year anniversary of the devastating flooding that killed 23 people in West Virginia. Roxy Todd visited reverend and musician John Wyatt to see how Rainelle has been faring in the year since the flood.

Steve Helber / Associated Press

Rain falling like it would never end has changed the meaning of summer in this tiny corner of Appalachia.

When the downpour finally stopped in White Sulphur Springs on June 23, 2016, five lives had been lost along one road alone — Mill Hill Drive. And 23 people were dead statewide in West Virginia’s worst flooding since 1985.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House are not budging on reforming the state’s tax code the way Gov. Jim Justice and now Senators on both sides of the aisle want to.

School Lunch Line
Slick-o-bot / Wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Board of Education has voted for a 30-day public comment period for proposed policy changes that would tie the state's standard for school meals and snacks with federal minimum requirements.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the public comment period for proposed changes to Policy 4321.1 received no dissenting votes on Wednesday.

Greenbrier Resort
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has ordered a state agency to remove its sponsorship of this year's Greenbrier Classic.

Justice said in a news release Thursday he didn't feel comfortable with the Department of Commerce's participation in the PGA Tour event at The Greenbrier resort he owns.

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