Raleigh County

Jeff Mullins
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

State Sen. Jeff Mullins, a Republican representing a swath of southern West Virginia, says he's resigning because of business and family obligations.

Mullins, who has held the seat since 2015, chairs the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.


State and federal investigators are trying to determine what killed a 48-year-old miner found Monday at a coal mining operation in Raleigh County.

James Ray Adkins of Colcord, West Virginia, was discovered missing at approximately 7:10 a.m. at Marfork Coal Co.'s Horse Creek Eagle Deep Mine, according to the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.

August 3, 1977: Coal Operator W. P. Tams Dies at 94

Aug 3, 2017
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Coal operator W. P. Tams died on August 3, 1977, at age 94. Tams studied engineering at Virginia Tech before going to work in 1904 for coal operator Sam Dixon in the southern West Virginia coalfields. Four years later, Tams launched his own company, known as Gulf Smokeless Coal in the new Winding Gulf Coalfield. He founded the Raleigh County town of Tams as his company’s headquarters and later acquired another coal operation in neighboring Wyoming County.

July 6, 1934: Coal Operator Sam Dixon Dies at 77

Jul 6, 2017
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Coal operator Sam Dixon died in Raleigh County on July 6, 1934, at age 77. A native of England, Dixon emigrated to Fayette County in the 1870s and worked for a while in his uncle’s coal mine. In 1893, he and a partner opened their own mine in Fayette County, quickly followed by several other mines.

June 2, 1951: Sergeant Cornelius Charlton Killed in Battle

Jun 2, 2017
e-WV Encyclopedia

On June 2, 1951, Sergeant Cornelius Charlton was killed in battle. He was 21 years old. Charlton was a native of East Gulf in Raleigh County, the eighth of 17 children. His family moved to New York when he was a teenager, and he enlisted in the Army at age 17.  

When the Korean War broke out, he was transferred to Korea. Charlton volunteered for combat and was assigned to the 24th Infantry—the Army’s last all-black regiment.

May 26, 1888: City Founder Alfred Beckley Dies at 86

May 26, 2017
Alfred Beckley
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

  City founder Alfred Beckley died on May 26, 1888. It was his 86th birthday. He was the son of John James Beckley, the first Librarian of Congress and a political ally of Thomas Jefferson. With help from President James Monroe, Alfred Beckley received an appointment to West Point.

UBB Mine Disaster
E-WV / WV Humanities Council

On April 5, 2010, the day after Easter, a series of explosions rocked the Upper Big Branch mine near Montcoal in Raleigh County.

Twenty-nine men died, making it West Virginia’s worst mining disaster since 78 miners were killed at Farmington in 1968.

After the Upper Big Branch explosion, an independent investigation determined that sparks from a longwall miner had ignited a pocket of methane, setting off a chain of explosions that surged more than two miles through the mine.

Raleigh County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

Raleigh County Schools Board of Education President Cindy Jafary says she is committed to reducing position cuts for teacher and service personnel and will give up her $9,000 board member salary as long as budget problems continue.

Jafary on Wednesday urged the board office to reconsider the recommended cuts of nearly a hundred positions.

Raleigh County
David Benbennick / Wikimedia Commons

Raleigh County Superintendent Davis Price is set to receive a $6,000 travel stipend amid cuts of at least 33 teaching positions in the school system.

The Register-Herald of Beckley reports that Price's latest contract, reviewed by the Raleigh Board of Education on Jan. 10, also calls for a 3 percent annual pay increase over the next four years. Price's salary is currently about $142,000 plus a $500 per month vehicle allowance.

The Raleigh County school board is set to cut nearly 100 positions within the school system.

WVVA-TV reports that at a special meeting of the Board of Education Wednesday, officials said Raleigh County is facing an $8.9 million budget deficit after a decline in county, state and federal funding. As a result, 94 employees will be laid off for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Register was then published in the afternoons and on Sundays.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Newspaperman Charles Hodel was born in Ohio on January 13, 1889. After learning the printing trade, he moved to Beckley at age 24 and became editor and general manager of the Raleigh Register newspaper.

Thanks to the rapidly expanding coal industry, Beckley was a booming town.

In 1929, Hodel and his associates acquired the Register’s competitor, the Post-Herald, which became Beckley’s morning paper. The Register was then published in the afternoons and on Sundays.

Doctor Exam Room
Michelleevalenzuela / wikimedia commons

West Virginia's U.S. senators say social service and health care agencies will share $4.8 million in federal funding to support Head Start programs in Raleigh County and Oceana and medical services in Roane County and other areas.

According to Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, funds are going to MountainHeart Community Services, Roane Co. Family Health Care, Raleigh County Community Action Association and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services.

51fifty / wikimedia Commons

A doctor who ran a drug clinic in Raleigh County has been accused of illegally distributing oxycodone to three patients who later died.

The Register-Herald reports Dr. Michael Kostenko was arrested Wednesday on numerous federal charges, including three counts of distributing oxycodone that resulted in the deaths of three patients.

Appalachian Bible College Chapel
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

Appalachian Bible College—originally known as Appalachian Bible Institute—opened at Sylvester in Boone County on September 5, 1950. The nondenominational, independent Christian college was the brainchild of Raleigh County minister Robert Guelich.

Before the school opened, southern West Virginians had to travel all the way to Pikeville, Kentucky, if they wanted to take advanced Bible studies.

Bill Withers
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

On July 8, 1972, Bill Withers’s song “Lean on Me” topped the Billboard charts for the first time. Rolling Stone magazine later ranked “Lean on Me” as the 205th greatest song of all time.

The Raleigh County native wrote the tune while thinking about the close community ties he experienced in Beckley and in the nearby mining camp of Slab Fork. It was in Beckley where Withers first honed his skills by singing gospel music.

syringe, needles
wikimedia commons

More cases involving patients possibly exposed to hepatitis at a heart clinic in West Virginia have emerged.


Attorney Stephen New tells WVVA-TV that his firm has 60 clients who he believes contracted hepatitis from the Raleigh Heart Clinic in Beckley.

wikimedia / Wikimedia

The trial has been postponed for an employee at a Raleigh County coal industry laboratory accused of falsifying water samples.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports 62-year-old John Brewer will be tried in federal court beginning Aug. 8.

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

Another employee at a Raleigh County coal industry laboratory has been charged for his part in a scheme to falsify water samples.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports 62-year-old John Brewer, a manager at Appalachian Laboratories Inc., faces seven counts in a federal grand jury indictment.

Fæ / Wikimedia Commons

A Raleigh County official is urging residents to vote in favor of a new fire levy.

Raleigh County fire levy coordinator Kevin Price tells the Register-Herald the new levy, which will be on the May 10 ballot, is cheaper than the previous levy, which already lowered home insurance rates in some areas. He says the levy brings benefits to the firefighting abilities of departments in the county.

Courtesy / Jamie Smith

This story is featured on an upcoming episode of ​Inside Appalachia focused on hip-hop culture throughout the region. To listen to this episode and others, ​subscribe to the podcast.

In southern West Virginia, The Movement Entertainment Group has hosted an awards ceremony for the past four years.  It’s part of the DubV Fest, a weekend music festival like Floyd Fest, Clifftop or Bonnaroo. Only it’s held indoors, usually at a nightclub, and features mostly hip-hop artists from out of state.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

Raleigh County has launched a new drug court in order to help addicts turn their lives around.

Officials on Friday held an opening ceremony for the Raleigh County Adult Drug Court.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Construction is underway for an all-female drug rehabilitation facility in Raleigh County.

WVVA-TV reports Leon Brush and his wife, Donita Brush, decided to create The Sparrow's Nest to mimic the treatment and success happening at Brian's Safehouse in Mount Hope. The couple founded the non-profit organization, which has been in operation since 2008.

Coal Layoffs, unemployed
Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Alpha Natural Resources continues to scale back its coal-mining operations.

Workers were told Friday at mines in West Virginia and Virginia that they were being laid off. The total in both states is more than 160, with the majority occurring in West Virginia, according to media reports.

40 North/ Champaign County Arts Council

This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll hear stories of women whose grit and determination changed their own lives - and changed other people's lives, too. We’ll hear from women who overcame a lot of challenges to succeed as students, musicians, entrepreneurs and educators.

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / New River Gorge, Fayette County, Fayette Station Road

The National Park Service is holding a youth art contest for students in Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Summers counties.

The Youth Arts in the Parks 2016 Appalachian Spring Wildflower Art Contest is open to K-12 students in the four counties.

Fotolia / DollarPhoto Club

Alpha Natural Resources plans to idle two coal mines in southern West Virginia and lay off 92 workers at the end of November.

The Register-Herald reports that state and Raleigh County officials received a letter on Tuesday from Alpha notifying them of the layoffs.


A West Virginia airport is beginning to offer weekly flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

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

Fastily / wikimedia Commons

A planning agency is seeking public input on a 25-year transportation plan for Fayette and Raleigh counties.

The Register-Herald reports that the Fayette/Raleigh Metropolitan Planning Organization will hold two public meetings this month on the draft plan. The meetings are scheduled for June 22 at Beckley City Hall and June 23 at Oak Hill City Hall.

The deadline to submit comments is July 17.

Wikimedia Commons

  Two pain management clinics have been ordered to close after they failed state inspections.

The West Virginia Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification set a May 15 deadline for Hope Clinic in Raleigh County to close. Punnamma Memorial Rehab Clinic in Wood County must close by May 21.