Health & Science

Prosecutors say in court documents that evidence about the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster is a necessary part of the government's criminal case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship wants a judge to let him take a business trip to North Carolina.

National Governors Association

According to a report by the nonprofit groups Trust for American's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the country, about 34 for every 100,000 people. The state is working to find ways to reduce those rates, but is not alone in its work. States across the country are grappling with the same problems. 

Oklahoma saw a record number of overdose deaths in 2014, reaching 864 that year. Neighboring Kentucky reported nearly 1,000 in the same year, more than half of which were due to prescription narcotics and heroin.

WCHS-TV

Two Huntington children have been injured after a homemade explosive was thrown into their living room.

Christy Cabell tells WCHS-TV that her children were taken to the hospital after a crudely constructed bomb made from a liquor bottle stuffed with fireworks was thrown through their home's window Tuesday night.

Cabell's 13-year-old son needed 13 stitches in his chest. The 2-year-old girl has several cuts on her face.

Sponge / wikimedia Commons

Another prescription drug collection effort will be held in September.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and other Senate colleagues had asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to reinstate the national initiative after it was discontinued by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

linkedin.com

Bridgeport's City Council is seeking a federal narcotics investigation unit for the Northern District of West Virginia.

The Exponent Telegram reports that the council unanimously approved a resolution this week asking the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to assign a tactical diversion squad to the region.

Councilman and former DEA agent Lowell J. Maxey says the unit would focus on prescription drugs. That would give the Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force more time to investigate other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Health officials are investigating a spike in syphilis cases in West Virginia.

Data posted on the Department of Health and Human Resources' website show the number of early syphilis cases jumped from 10 in 2010 to 62 in 2014. Early syphilis includes primary, secondary and early latent stages of infection.

Dr. Loretta Haddy with the state Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services says 39 cases have been diagnosed so far this year.

David Benbennick / wikimedia Commons

Four workers have been injured after a jackhammer hit an underground power line at a plant in Fayette County.

A Fayette County emergency dispatcher says the workers suffered flash burns and were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Their conditions weren't known.

The dispatcher, who declined to be identified, says the contact with the power line also caused a transformer to blow.

Jodyperry / wikimedia Commons

Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College are banning tobacco use on their shared campus.

Both schools' governing boards have approved adoption of a tobacco-free, smoke-free and vapor-free campus. The Times West Virginian reports that the new policy is effective Aug. 1.

Pierpont Board of Governors chairman James Griffin says the board wanted to create a healthier environment for students.

Jessica Lilly

A much anticipated alternative for addiction recovery is now a reality in southern West Virginia. The Four Seasons Recovery Center in Mercer County is part of the West Virginia Justice Reinvestment Act. 

WV FOODLINK

Researchers at West Virginia University are working to holistically understand "food insecurity" throughout West Virginia with a program they call WV FOODLINK.

Jessica Lilly

Food deserts are a growing problem in West Virginia and across the country. The USDA defines a food desert as a part of the country where people don’t have access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods. Parts of more than 40 counties in West Virginia endure some sort of limited food access and the number is growing as more and more grocery stores close their doors. But when the grocery store in one Greenbrier County town closed, the community worked to find local resources with hopes of becoming self-sufficient.


A brain about concussions from parents.com
From Parents.com / http://www.parents.com/blogs/red-hot-parenting/tag/sports-concussions/

Concern about short and long term effects of concussions continues to grow across the nation. Concussions are a traumatic brain injury that can leave possible long term effects. Concussions can leave a significant impact on people, but especially on teenagers’ brains. Recent studies show that concussions can impede students and athletes’ academic performance. 

Authorities say a coal miner was killed over the weekend in an accident at a mine in southwestern Pennsylvania.

At approximately 12:15 AM on June 28, 2015, John William “Bill” Kelly, 55 years old, of Albright, West Virginia a long-term employee of Mepco, LLC, was fatally injured. According to a release from Mepco, Kelly died in an accident at the Company’s 4 West Mine located near Mount Morris, Pennsylvania. In the release, Mepco also released this statement:

Morgantown Industrial Park
Northeast Natural Energy

Drilling is set to begin in West Virginia in what is being billed as the first long-term field study of shale drilling for natural gas.

Northeast Natural Energy of Charleston is scheduled to drill Friday in Morgantown.


Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis released his 184-page Papal Encyclical to the world just a few days ago. The letter from the Pope to all the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church comes as a relief to environmentalists around the globe, as it named climate matters the most urgent and critical issue of our time. In it, Pope Francis appeals “for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.”

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, leader of the Catholic community in West Virginia, spoke about the messages he took away from the historic document.


Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia University is creating a new office and a new position to oversee fraternities and sororities.
 

Student Life vice president Bill Schafer says a national search will be conducted to fill the position of associate dean and director of Greek life.

WVU President E. Gordon Gee says the new office and position are part of an effort to change the university's culture.

Gee promised significant changes following the death of 18-year-old freshman Nolan Burch during an initiation ceremony at the WVU Kappa Sigma house on Nov. 12, 2014.

Wikimedia Commons

Despite taking many steps to prevent injuries, West Virginia ranks highest for the number of injury-related deaths in the United States. That’s according to a new report published this week that looks state-by-state at injury prevention policy.

Many of the injury-related deaths that put West Virginia in the lead nationally are attributed to drug overdoses, according to data compiled by Trust for America's Health (TFAH). The organization published the new report along with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Its title: The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report

Downstream Strategies

Two organizations issued a report this week that details how West Virginia can meet the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, a new rule meant to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) met in Morgantown this week to talk about the economic and social effects of drug addiction – opioid addiction especially.


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