Government

A revised West Virginia law will increase the possible civil fine from $500 to $5,000 for government employers who threaten or retaliate against whistleblowers.

The measure passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jim Justice also authorizes firing them instead of the possible six-month suspension under current law.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Authorities have cited a West Virginia mining operation owned by Gov. Jim Justice for six safety violations following a workers' fatal fall in February.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says 43-year-old Jason Kenneth Matthews of Bluefield, Virginia, fell from a ladder while attempting repairs inside the McDowell County coal preparation plant.

Charleston Homeless Encampment
wchstv

The issue of homelessness in Charleston has become evident to residents and the city's leaders say they are struggling to solve it.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Mayor Danny Jones said Charleston is a mecca for people who have "taken over our streets." His comments came during a recent city council finance meeting and he has continued to discuss the topic on his local radio show.

Pipestem Resort
Bitmapped / wikimedia commons

Entrance passes will be required starting Memorial Day weekend at seven West Virginia state parks and forests.

The Division of Natural Resources says in a news release that the money generated from the pilot project will be used for park maintenance and upkeep.

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Gov. Jim Justice has signed a law revising terms for debt collections, giving creditors a chance to fix or settle their errors and violations before borrowers can sue and file counterclaims.

The amendment to West Virginia's consumer protection statute requires the borrower or his attorney first notify the collector by certified mail of an alleged violation and the factual basis.

Hancock County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

Small businesses in Hancock County are eligible for disaster loans as a result of drought conditions last year.

The U.S. Small Business Administration said Hancock County is eligible because it's contiguous to one or more primary counties in Pennsylvania.

voting, voter, voting booth, voting machine
U.S. Department of State

The West Virginia secretary of state's office says more than 47,000 outdated or ineligible voter files have been removed from the state's voter registration system.

Secretary of State Mac Warner said in a news release his office worked with county clerks in every county to remove the files, and he says there's still more work to do.

Bubble sheet test
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Business College has had its permit to operate in the state revoked.

The West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education said Thursday the decision was made over the college's failure to gain accreditation for the 2017-18 school year and its inability to offer students financial aid. The revocation is effective June 30.

Manchin Job Fair Huntington
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

Several job seekers from southern West Virginia traveled to Huntington Friday to explore employment opportunities.

Nearly 150 employers were at the Big Sandy Arena  in Huntington Friday, looking to fill job vacancies. United States Senator Joe Manchin’s office organized the three-hour job fair in downtown Huntington. Employers ranging from Wendy’s to state government were on hand, as well as local colleges like Marshall University that offered assistance for education options. Senator Manchin said he wanted to present job seekers with a variety of choices all in one place.

WVU Tech
West Virginia University

West Virginia University officials have approved an agreement that allows a nonprofit group to purchase several buildings at a southern West Virginia campus.

KVC Health Systems, which specializes in behavioral health care and child welfare, plans to convert the WVU Tech campus in Montgomery into a college specifically for children transitioning out of the foster care system, giving at-risk young adults a chance to earn two-year degrees at no cost to them.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

The former office manager of a legal aid clinic in Charleston has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for embezzling more than $1.5 million over 12 years.

Fifty-five-year-old Kim Cooper of St. Albans was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Charleston for her guilty plea to wire fraud and tax evasion.

Oxycodone
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West Virginia will receive $5.9 million from the federal government to help fight drug addiction.

U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin announced the grant Thursday from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Parents or guardians who cause the death of a child in West Virginia will face tougher penalties under a law signed by the governor.

Gov. Jim Justice signed Senate Bill 288, known as "Emmaleigh's Law," into law Wednesday. It sets a sentence of 15 years to life for fatal child abuse caused by a parent, guardian, custodian or other person allowed by the parent to commit the abuse.

Evan Jenkins RCBI
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

State and Federal officials were in Huntington Thursday afternoon to announce a series of grants aimed at helping create employment in the southern part of the state.

Three grants in excess of $6 million will target manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare in the southern part of the state. The grants were awarded at the Robert C. Byrd Institute in Huntington. The Appalachian Hatchery project will boost workforce training opportunities through RCBI. The Sprouting Farms program will help facilitate an agricultural industry in nine counties in southern West Virginia. 

Crime Tape
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Authorities say Crime Stoppers of West Virginia are starting a new initiative that would offer up to $10,000 to help solve cold cases.

Beckley Police Sgt. Morgan Bragg says Crime Stoppers will be made up of several different southern West Virginia law enforcement agencies. The tasks force will work toward solving decades-old cases. Officials say they'll begin working on their first case by the end of the month.

Cash Money
Psychonaught / Wikimedia Commons

A Huntington audit has uncovered the city's fire pension board failed to properly calculate retirees' pensions, resulting in overpayments for over 25 years.

City Manager Cathy Burns says the city overpaid about 50 fire department retirees. Burns says miscalculations started in 1990 when the city moved to a "confusing" state formula.

Huntington wins America's Best Communities comp
America's Best Communities Facebook

The city of Huntington is the first place winner of America’s Best Communities competition. The announcement came Wednesday night. Huntington officials in Denver, Colorado, received a $3 million award to be used on local revitalization efforts.

Huntington was one of the 8 finalists last April and has already received $100,000.

Canabis Oil Medical Marijuana
Adobe Stock

Gov. Jim Justice signed a law Wednesday making West Virginia the 29th state to allow the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

The law lets doctors prescribe cannabis to patients who are terminally ill or have seizures, cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS and other specified conditions.

A nursery where drug-affected babies are treated at Lily’s Place in Huntington, W.Va.
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

Marshall University is hoping to expand Huntington's services for babies born addicted to drugs by adding a comprehensive center that would follow babies to kindergarten.

The Herald Dispatch reports that creators of the plan met Monday with Rep. Evan Jenkins to discuss the program. Jenkins pledged his support during the meeting.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since November 2008.

WorkForce West Virginia says the rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 4.9 percent in March. The number of unemployed residents fell by 2,300 to 38,100.

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