Government

Politics
3:22 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

W.Va. Poet: “Appalachian Blackface” Story of 2014 Election Cycle

West Virginia poet Crystal Good.
Credit Paul Corbitt Brown

Editor's Note: The audio links in this story contain some racially charged words that may not be suitable for all listeners. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to tell you a story. It’s a strange, fascinating and awful tale staged in West Virginia during the 21st century when they developed a unique craft, an art form of performance known as Appalachian blackface."

The opening lines of Crystal Good's newest poem "Appalachian Blackface" are meant to pull the audience into a theatrical tale, one where the politicians are the performers and West Virginia voters the ticket holders to a show the centers around coal, economics and race.

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Government
12:34 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

W.Va. Public Workers Could See Health Benefit Cuts

  Workers covered by the Public Employees Insurance Agency could see reductions in their benefits next year.

The Public Employees Insurance Agency has proposed $40 million in benefits cuts. PEIA executive director Ted Cheatham tells the Charleston Daily Mail that comments gathered during public hearings show workers aren't happy with the changes.

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Government
9:38 am
Mon November 24, 2014

More W.Va. Court Records to go Digital in 2015

  More West Virginia circuit court records are expected to go digital in 2015.

The West Virginia Supreme Court is implementing a pilot electronic filing project in 14 counties. The project got under way in December 2013 when a lawsuit was filed electronically in the Marion County Circuit Clerk's Office.

Matt Arrowood with the Supreme Court tells The Exponent Telegram that civil cases are being filed electronically in Marion and Jefferson counties. He says court officials hope to begin e-filing all case types by the first of next year.

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Immigration
12:48 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Manchin: President Should Have Given Congress Timeline on Immigration

Credit Courtesy Photo

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin today criticized President Obama’s new executive rule the will affect millions of illegal immigrants in this country not because of the rule itself he said, but because of the timing.

The President announced the temporary shield for more than 5 million illegal immigrants in a primetime speech Thursday.

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Education
10:50 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Release of Westest2 Scores Delayed Again

Credit West Virginia Department of Education

  The release of last year's standardized test scores for West Virginia public school students has been delayed again.

The Charleston Gazette reports that state education officials did not announce the results Thursday as expected. State Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro says officials are still working with counties to validate the scores. She says scores can be expected soon, but did not give a specific date.

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Developing
1:53 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Blankenship Pleads Not Guilty, Bond Set at $5 Million

Sketches of Don Blankenship and his attorney during arraignment hearing.
Credit Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship stood with three attorneys as he pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Beckley. Blankenship was indicted on charges of conspiring to violate mine safety rules and then lying about it.  Blankenship appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort.   

Families Can't Hide Their Emotions

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Higher Education
10:47 am
Wed November 19, 2014

WVU Offers Students Bus Trip to Classmate's Funeral

Credit http://history.wvu.edu/r/images/homepage/13223

West Virginia University is providing transportation to the funeral of a student in Buffalo, New York.

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Public Services
7:03 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Public Service Commissioner Defends State Oversight of Utilities

PSC Chair Michael Albert addresses lawmakers on the House floor.
Credit Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia Public Service Commission Chairman Michael Albert appeared before a Joint Judiciary Committee meeting Tuesday at the Capitol to respond to a report the committee received last month. That report accused the Public Service Commission of having too much regulatory power.

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Environment and Safety
2:20 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

DEP Official: Radiation Levels in Fracking Waste Safe

Mike Dorsey, director of emergency management and homeland security, presented the preliminary report findings Monday.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State lawmakers were updated Monday morning on a study the Department of Environmental Protection began earlier this year. That study focuses on the level of radioactive material in drill cuttings from horizontal fracking sites.

The West Virginia DEP has tested 15 sites for levels of radioactivity in drilling waste. The test sites included Wetzel County’s landfill, an Ohio water treatment plant, and multiple drilling sites in counties in North Central West Virginia.

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Bethany Extortion
10:57 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Ohio Man Sentenced for Extortion Involving Bethany College

Credit Nyttend / wikimedia commons

An Ohio man will spend more than five years in prison for extorting more than $1 million.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II announced the sentencing of 31-year-old Jason Kirkland Weese of East Liverpool, Ohio, on Monday.

Weese had pleaded guilty in June to extortion conspiracy and aiding and abetting money laundering. He was accused of extorting the money from former Bethany College cashier Shelly Lough.

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Freda Tomblin
10:24 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Governor Tomblin's Mother Dies

Credit Evans Funeral Home

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's mother, Freda Mae Tomblin, has died. She was 80.

The governor said Sunday in a news release that his mother died Saturday surrounded by family and friends.

 She was a resident of Chapmanville. The governor says his mother taught him the importance of education, hard work and caring for others. Other survivors include her husband, Earl; her son, Carl Edward Tomblin of Chapmanville; and a sister, Sue Murray of Hagerstown, Md. Evans Funeral Home in Chapmanville is in charge of arrangements.

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Camp Dawson
10:16 am
Mon November 17, 2014

WV National Guard Proposes Three Ranges

Credit http://www.wv.ngb.army.mil/

The West Virginia Army National Guard has proposed building three ranges at Camp Dawson in Preston County.The ranges would be located on Briery Mountain. They include a live fire breach facility, a hand grenade familiarization range and an MK 19 range. The Guard says the ranges are needed to provide in-state training for state Army National Guard units. The Dominion Post reports that the Guard is seeking public comments on the proposed ranges. The deadline to submit comments is Nov. 22. Comments should be mailed to Jeffrey S.

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DNR Officers
10:05 am
Mon November 17, 2014

DNR to Conduct Tests for Police Officers

Credit Huntington Police Department

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources will conduct physical agility tests next month for natural resources police officer candidates.

The DNR says applicants should report to the lobby of the South Charleston Community Center either on Dec. 5 at 8 a.m. or Dec. 6 at 9 a.m.

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LGBT Issues
8:10 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

Fairness Focused on Next Steps in Fight for Equality

Fairness West Virginia Executive Director Andrew Schneider.
Credit Fairness WV

The LGBT advocacy organization Fairness West Virginia held their annual conference in Charleston Saturday and this year, the group had plenty to celebrate. 

After saying he would no longer fight an appeal to the state's gay marriage ban, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's decision essentially made the practice legal in the state and on Oct. 9, county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples across the state.

Fairness Executive Director Andrew Schneider said Saturday that's certainly something to celebrate, but the fight isn't yet over. Now, the organization is looking on to its next legislative battles. 

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Government
3:45 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

New Health Insurance Enrollment Period Opens in W.Va.

Credit Rick Haye, Marshall University Communications

  A second enrollment period has started for coverage under West Virginia's health insurance exchange.

Sign-up events were held across the state Saturday for the state-sponsored marketplace. The enrollment period runs through Feb. 15.

According to federal government figures, West Virginia had the lowest percent of enrollees between the ages of 18 and 34 during the round of signups from October 2013 to March.

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Public Health
12:03 am
Fri November 14, 2014

WVU Public Health Dialogue: Does Being Poor Mean Being Sick?

Professor of Family and Community Medicine, and Director of the Center of Social Disparities and Health and the University of California, San Fransisco, Paula Braveman. She’s been studying and publishing extensively on health equity and the social determinants of health for over 25 years.
Credit UCSF

Stress. We all live with it, but at what point does it become toxic? When do social pressures turn from a healthy challenge to a source of poison? These are some of the ideas turned over in a public health dialogue at West Virginia University last week that explored the "social determinants of health." Guest-speaker Dr. Paula Braveman spoke about how social factors in our lives play a role in our health.

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Poverty
8:15 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Parkersburg's Panhandlers Say Signs Calling Them Addicts Are Insulting and Defamatory

A month ago the city of Parkersburg posted signs around town asking the public not to give to panhandlers. But some people still do. And some panhandlers say the signs aren’t just ineffective. They’re insulting. Even defamatory.

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Higher Education
7:13 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

WVU Suspends Fraternity and Sorority Activities, Student Dies

Credit Richinstead / wikimedia Commons

An 18-year-old student at the center of an investigation into the conduct at fraternities and sororities at WVU has died.

Late Wednesday night, police were called to the Kappa Sigma fraternity. They found someone performing CPR on Michael Nolan Burch. Preston said Burch had no pulse and wasn't breathing. He was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where he died today.  

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Chemical Spill
5:29 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Freedom Industries May Clean Less of River Site

Credit AP

  The bankrupt company that leaked a coal processing chemical into Charleston's Elk River in January could reduce the amount of contaminated material it needs to clean from its polluted storage site.

The Charleston Gazette reports that West Virginia state environmental regulators revealed a proposed agreement Thursday in which Freedom Industries would enter a voluntary toxic cleanup program to remediate the site.

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UBB Investigation
4:31 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship Indicted on Four Federal Charges

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on four federal charges Thursday. The charges stem from a years-long investigation led by the FBI and the United States Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General into an April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine owned by Massey that killed 29 miners. 

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