Government

Woodburn Hall, West Virginia University
Richinstead / wikimedia Commons

A team from West Virginia University won first place in the rocket-launching competition in New Mexico.

The university's Experimental Rocketry team captured first place in the 10,000-foot launch category at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation allowing the West Virginia Parkways Authority to increase the tolls on the state turnpike and create a new single fee program in the name of a bond to fund new road projects in southern West Virginia.

The bill is part of his roads package, a set of bills and bond initiatives that will boost revenue for road maintenance and construction and in turn, according to the governor, create jobs.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Both of West Virginia’s U.S. Senators have now announced their opposition to a federal healthcare bill that could result in the loss of healthcare coverage for millions of Americans. 

Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito announced Tuesday afternoon in a press release she is a no vote on the bill. The statement came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier in the day he would delay a vote of the full Senate until after the 4th of July holiday.

Office of Drug Control Policy
City of Huntington

Established in November 2014, the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in Huntington has been paddling upstream, trying to make a dent in the on-going fight against drug addiction in the city. City officials hope a new, two-year strategic plan can continue to help them make a dent in the problem.

The office has plugged away at finding ways to slow and increasingly difficult drug epidemic in the city for more than two years. But the three people working in Huntington’s Office of Drug Control Policy feel changes are slowly being made that will help the city find its way out of the malaise.

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

The termination process has begun for a university professor who recently pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges in connection with a kickback scheme involving the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that a Marshall University official said on Monday the school plans to fire civil engineering professor Andrew P. Nichols, who has taught there since 2007. Nichols' plea agreement says the 38-year-old admitted to conspiring with a state Division of Highways worker to impede the IRS from collecting proper taxes between 2009 and 2011.

United States Flag
DollarPhoto Club / DollarPhoto Club

Gov. Jim Justice has ordered that state flags be lowered Tuesday on state buildings at the West Virginia Capitol Complex and in Monroe County, home of former Delegate Mary Pearl Compton.

Groves Funeral Home says Compton died Wednesday in Fairlea after a long illness. She was 86. Her service is Tuesday in Union.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, established in November 2014, the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in Huntington has been paddling upstream, trying to make a dent in the on-going fight against drug addiction in the city. City officials hope a new, two-year strategic plan can continue to help them make a dent in the problem.

We also hear one more chapter in Mark Combs and Cameron Elias Williams’ Struggle to Stay story, for the time being.

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. 

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