Health & Science

Foo Conner / Flickr

The water company involved in West Virginia's chemical spill is providing 20 more tractor-trailer loads of bottled water for the nine counties affected.
 
     Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin requested Thursday that West Virginia American Water offer more bottled water, since the state has spent nearly $890,000 on more than 17.5 million bottles of water.
 

A community going on five months without clean water received another donation Thursday. This time, from a group based in New Jersey.

Earlier this month, we shared a story about the community of Bud and Alpoca along with an elementary school that have been without clean water since September.

Since then, Principal Virginia Lusk says she has received several phone calls and emails from people saying they want to help.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Marshall University Professor and Vice-Chair of the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board Dr. Scott Simonton presented testimony to the Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources Wednesday.

In his testimony, Dr. Simonton said he had found formaldehyde in the water supply of the Charleston restaurant Vandalia Grille. He also said he "can guarantee" people are breathing in the chemical while showering.

Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia House of Delegates is paving a long legislative road for new regulations on above-ground storage tanks.
 
     But Speaker Tim Miley says his chamber isn't stalling the chemical spill-inspired bill.
 
     Miley says giving the bill three committee stops doesn't mean it won't go anywhere. Often, assigning a bill many committees shows leadership isn't seriously considering it.
 
     Miley says Senate Bill 373 could take longer in the House. A public hearing will take place in the House chamber Monday.
 

www.medicaltimeout.com

Last year, state legislators passed a bill requiring the Secondary School Activities Commission to draft rules aimed at preventing youth concussions. The legislation came as the national spotlight was shed on long term head injuries NFL players were suffering.

Shepherdstown on Boil Water Notice

Jan 30, 2014
Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Jan. 31, 2014: As of 8:45 a.m. today the Shepherdstown, W.Va., boil water advisory has been lifted.

Shepherdstown has joined the ranks of West Virginia communities experiencing water problems this winter.

The town has issued a boil water notice for the next two days due to a water main break that occurred Wednesday.

State utility regulators have ordered West Virginia American Water to continue providing quarterly reports on the quality of its service.
 
     The Public Service Commission's order says the information will allow it to monitor whether the company's response to a Jan. 9 chemical spill has any lasting impact on its distribution infrastructure in the Kanawha Valley.
 

Foo Conner / Flickr

Officials from the Bureau for Public Health and West Virginia American Water released separate statements regarding Dr. Scott Simonton's testimony Wednesday to Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on State Water Resources, calling his remarks on the discovery of formaldehyde in the water of a Charleston restaurant "unfounded", "misleading", and "irresponsible."

Twitter / @kenwardjr

Fresh Air recently interviewed Charleston Gazette investigative reporter Ken Ward about the Freedom Industries chemical spill. Here are the highlights:

On how the chemical leak was discovered

Some people who live in that part of town called in both to the metro 911 — the county emergency operation center — and to the state Department of Environmental Protection complaints of an odor, that they smelled some sort of a strong licorice odor in the air.

Drug Enforcement Agency

A West Virginia resident and a Florida man have admitted their roles in a methamphetamine trafficking case.
 
     Forty-nine-year-old Howard Leon Lykins II of Charleston pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston on Tuesday to maintaining a residence for drug purposes. Forty-four-year-old Richard Milton Hudson Riggall of Zephyrhills, Fla., entered a guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
 

On Jan. 9, people in and around Charleston, W.Va., began showing up at hospitals: They had nausea, eye infections and some were vomiting. It was later discovered that around 10,000 gallons of toxic chemicals had leaked into the Elk River, just upstream from a water treatment plant that serves 300,000 people. Citizens were told not to drink or bathe in the water, and while some people are now using water from their taps, many still don't trust it or the information coming from public officials.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

By now, you’ve probably heard of crude MCHM, the chemical that spilled into the Elk River in early January contaminating the drinking water of 300 thousand West Virginians.

And may be you’ve even heard of PPH, the second chemical contained in the leaky tank at the Freedom Industries site.

But almost three weeks after the leak, how much do we really know about these chemicals?

We'll have our own story up soon but, in the meantime, we wanted to provide you this piece that just went up from The Charleston Gazette.

CDC / Dr. Erskine Palmer / wikimedia Commons

Flu activity is widespread in West Virginia and a state epidemiologist says this year's season could be severe.
 
     Widespread activity means increases in flu-related outpatient visits, lab-confirmed flu cases and incidents of influenza outbreaks have been reported in at least half of the state's eight surveillance regions.
 

http://www.coalheritage.org/

Since the recent chemical spill in Charleston, the issue of clean water in West Virginia is a topic that many Southern West Virginians are discussing.  The Coal Heritage Lecture Series, an annual program presented by Concord University’s Beckley Center and the Coal Heritage Highway Authority, kicks off the 2014 programs with a look at this critical issue. 

Rick Haye, Marshall University Communications

    

Biological Anthropologist Paul Constantino has decided that a 3-Dimensional printer is the next step in teaching his students about human evolution.

Ashton Marra

Weeks of questioning, debates and discussions culminated in the Senate Tuesday with a vote on the most watched bill of the session. Senate Bill 373 creates new regulations for above ground storage tanks and more stringent protections of the state’s water.

The bill sets forth provisions for storage site owners and operators, the Department of Environmental Protection and public water distribution systems.

Site Owners:

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries has once again revised their estimate of the amount of materials involved in the January 9 chemical spill into the Elk River.

In a news release issued Monday afternoon, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said Freedom now estimates the MCHM/PPH blend involved in the spill at 10,000 gallons. That number is up from earlier estimates of 7,500 gallons, which was also increased from the earliest estimates of 2,000-5,000 gallons when the spill was first discovered.

Drug Enforcement Agency

Methamphetamine lab seizures jumped 85 percent in West Virginia in 2013.
 
     A West Virginia State Police report says authorities seized 533 meth labs, compared to 288 in 2012.
 
     The report says police found meth labs in 45 of West Virginia's 55 counties. Kanawha County led the state with 159 meth lab seizures, followed by 36 in Wood County and 28 in Putnam County.
 

According to the USDA, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced in America goes uneaten. Barbara Hartman is a registered dietician and works as the chief of nutrition and food service at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Her mission? To reduce food waste. Mona Iskander of PBS NewsHour reports on how new businesses have emerged to help kitchens reduce food waste while turning a profit.

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