Health & Science

Medicaid implementing restrictions
3:56 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

New Drug Can Cure Hepatitis C – If Only We Could Afford It

Gilead Sciences has produced a curative drug for Hepatitis C, costing $1000 a pill.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The pill is called Sovaldi and it’s profoundly changing outcomes for Hepatitis C patients.

Just 5 years ago the cure rate for most patients in the US was about 50%. Now with Sovaldi, made by Gilead Sciences Inc. of California and approved by the FDA last December, the latest Hep C regimen is making therapy shorter, more tolerable, and the cure rate is reaching 95-100 %.

That’s significant for West Virginia, which has the second highest prevalence of Hepatitis C in the country.

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Black Lung
2:11 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Rockefeller Introduces Black Lung Legislation

Credit Department of Labor

Senator Jay Rockefeller co-sponsored legislation to address barriers and delays miners face when seeking benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Program.

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Environment
6:58 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Are Flooded Mines Polluting Water?

A long-awaited environmental impact report concludes that concentrations of iron and sulfate collecting in underground pools could pollute the Potomac River and its surrounding groundwater.

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Government
12:52 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

McKinley Named Vice Chair of Energy and Commerce Committee Oversight Subcommittee

David McKinley, member of US House of Representatives, March 2012
Credit United States Congress

Republican Congressman David McKinley has been named vice chair of an Energy and Commerce Committee oversight subcommittee.

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Indictment
10:34 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Blankenship Ordered to Appear for Arraignment, Gag Order Set

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

A federal Magistrate has denied former Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s request to delay arraignment proceedings.

According to court records, Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort denied Blankenship’s request to postpone his initial court appearance. VanDervort ordered Blankenship to appear in court, surrender his passport, prepare to meet and discuss his financial circumstances, and other actions to prepare for court proceedings.

The former Massey CEO  is set to be arraigned in federal court on Thursday. The former leader of what was once one of the largest coal producers in the country Massey Energy CEO, Don Blankenship was indicted by the United States Attorney’s Office on two mine safety charges, lying to the securities and exchange commission and securities fraud.

The decision to proceed this week with his arraignment comes days after the judge presiding over Blankenship’s criminal case issued a gag order for the parties involved.

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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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Environment
1:30 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Four Ways West Virginia Can Reduce CO2 Emissions

Credit Dave Mistich / Data From U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Can West Virginia reduce CO2 emissions? The short answer, according to a new report, is yes. Will West Virginia reduce CO2 emissions? That's another question...


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Huntington Hospitals
3:54 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Cabell Huntington Hospital Announces Agreement to Assume Control of St. Mary’s

Credit CabellHuntington.org

Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s will soon work together in Huntington.

Cabell Huntington Hospital and the Pallotine Sisters who control the St. Mary’s Medical center have signed an agreement that transfers control of St. Mary’s to Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Both hospitals say the hope is that by working together they will be able to provide more affordable healthcare to the region..

Now that an agreement has been reached, the hospitals will wait for the Federal Trade Commission to review the competitive implications of the transaction.

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Public Health
2:38 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

New Unit at Ruby Memorial Hospital is Ebola-Ready

Director of WVU Healthcare Facilities Engineering and Management, Scott Bierer, in one of the newly renovated isolation units at Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Credit WVPublic

Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown is now equipped and prepared with what’s called an Infection Prevention and Containment Unit, complete with five isolations rooms, in the event that any sick person be admitted who has had any possible exposure to the Ebola virus.

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Public Health
6:43 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

An Ebola Healthcare Worker Returns Home to West Virginia

Burial site in Bong County, Liberia.
Credit Scott Laney / CDC

The week a healthcare worker in West Virginia completes his 21-day monitoring period after a month in Liberia.

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Oil and Gas Industry
1:56 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

DEP: September Drilling Accident Contaminated Water in Doddridge County

This is a water buffalo. Or at least the kind you see in Doddridge County. Gas companies provide them whenever there's any possible water contamination as the result of their drilling activities.
Credit Glynis Board / WVPublic

In September, drilling for shale gas in Doddridge Country went wrong when operators accidentally drilled into one of their own wells that was engaged in production. West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection confirmed late last week that the accident contaminated water wells.

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Safety
8:40 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

MSHA Dedicates Mine Fire Prevention Course to Aracoma Victims


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Oil and Gas Industry
10:49 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

“Fracking’s Toxic Loophole”: Report Calls for Repeal of Halliburton’s Loophole

Credit Baker Hughes

A new report has just been published that identifies large amounts of toxic chemicals legally used in the oil and gas industry—such chemical-use in any other industrial application is regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Not so for the gas industry.


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Claiming Benefits
9:16 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Retired Miner with Black Lung Approved for Transplant

Credit Jessica Lilly

Former coal miner Robert Bailey was recently approved for a double lung transplant after waiting months for a black lung medical benefits claim to be approved. We spoke with Robert Bailey in June when he was waiting to hear if Patriot Coal’s insurance company would approve his appointment for a medical evaluation. 

Bailey’s doctor told him he needed a lung transplant in February of this year. Since then, he’s been working towards the waiting list. As we reported in June, Bailey had to cancel an evaluation appointment as Patriot Coal’s insurance company, Underwriters Safety and Claims, evaluated his request for coverage.  We caught up with Bailey at his kitchen table in Princeton about three months later to recap his journey.

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Research
7:45 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Wild Ginseng, Wood Thrushes, and Climate Change: A Survival Story

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Some researchers at West Virginia University have discovered that wild ginseng—a native and valuable medicinal plant—could be using specific birds to catch a ride into climates for which it’s better suited.

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Workforce Development
11:38 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

W.Va. Women in Tech Conference Features First Female Space Walker

"What an amazing woman in STEM, #KathrynDSullovan @ #WVWomenTech"
Credit tweeted Kristen Perko

The first woman to walk in space was the keynote speaker at the Women in Tech Conference. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan and several other speakers met at Oglebay Park in Ohio County to talk about empowerment and technology.

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Health & Science
2:40 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

West Virginia Health Officials Preparing for Ebola

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

No Ebola cases have emerged in West Virginia, but hospitals, state health officials and residents are preparing for the worst.

West Virginia University's public affairs office sent an email this week to the entire campus community - more than 35,000 people - explaining protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those include remembering to frequently wash hands and avoiding touching blood or body fluids of sick people.

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West Virginia Morning
8:15 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Revitalizing the Economy of Southern W.Va. and Studying Natural Gas

 Senate President Jeff Kessler announced the creation of SCORE, Southern Coalfields Organizing and Revitalizing their Economy, Thursday. The program will send a group of senators to the southern part of the state to hear from citizens about what they can do to revitalize the area's economy.

A West Virginia transplant in Doddridge County moved here to enjoy the rural area, but soon after, saw well pads being placed within sight of her home. Now, she invites scientists, students, and even reporters to come study the health affects of the activity from her home.

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Health & Science
4:27 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Henry Winkler Visits with Jackson County Students About Growing Up Dyslexic

Credit Clark Davis / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The actor whose most famous part came as “The Fonz” on Happy Days just made a trip to West Virginia to talk to school children about growing up with dyslexia.

Henry Winkler was in Jackson County Thursday to discuss what he dealt with as a child with dyslexia and the books he now writes based on his life. The children’s novels are titled, “Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Under-Achiever.” The novels provide a comedic way of illustrating to kids to not stop trying.

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Oil and Gas Industry
3:21 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

‘WV Host Farms’ Offers Researchers Birdseye View of Gas Drilling

Before/After screen capture of the Mark West Plant, a major mid-stream gas processing plant that's in the middle of construction in Doddridge County.
Credit courtesy of WV Host Farms

For a couple of years now an organization that bubbled up in Doddridge County has been teaming with scientists to try to get a better handle on the impacts of horizontal drilling and the ancillary processes that support it. WV Host Farms brings together landowners, researchers, students, and news reporters to take a close look at what is locally referred to as “ground zero” of Marcellus Shale fracking.

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