Wyoming County

January 26, 1850: Virginia General Assembly Creates Wyoming County

Jan 26, 2018
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

On January 26, 1850, the Virginia General Assembly created Wyoming County from part of Logan County. The original county seat was located at Oceana but was moved to Pineville in 1907.

The county’s first major industry was timbering, which began on a large scale about 1889. Before the arrival of railroads, logs had to be floated down the Guyandotte River to the Ohio River at Huntington.

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Attorneys for 16 Wyoming County families who accused a coal company of contaminating their water asked the state’s highest court Wednesday, Jan. 24, for another chance to prove their case.

November 8, 1936: Darrell McGraw Born in Wyoming County

Nov 8, 2017
Darrell McGraw helped to expand the rights of injured workers to sue employers
Yahoo Images

Darrell McGraw was born in Wyoming County on November 8, 1936. After graduating from Pineville High School, he earned degrees from Berea Academy and West Virginia University, where he served as student body president. He also served a stint in the army.

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.

Pvt. Kenneth Shadrick
Wikipedia

On July 5, 1950, Army private Kenneth Shadrick of Wyoming County was killed in action, becoming one of the first U.S. servicemen killed in action during the Korean War.

He was brought down by North Korean machine-gun fire in the opening days of the conflict. Shortly thereafter, Time magazine ran a profile of Shadrick, claiming he was the first U.S. military casualty of the war. However, it’s now believed that other Americans died earlier on that same day.

Jessica Lilly

A jury has ruled in favor of a coal company in Wyoming County Circuit Court. The verdict came in Thursday afternoon after only a few hours of deliberations.

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A lawsuit filed by miners who say they were unlawfully laid off in Wyoming County has been certified as a class action.

The Register-Herald reports Judge Irene Berger granted the certification Tuesday in Beckley federal court.

Jessica Lilly

This story has been updated.

Twenty-six families say that a coal company is responsible for damaging their water supply. Trial for 16 of those families begins Monday, April 11, in Wyoming County Circuit Court.

In light of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, this week on Inside Appalachia we remember the West Virginia water crisis from 2014. We’ll also hear from people in the coalfields who don’t have access to clean water, day in and day out. And we’ll honor the traditional “Appalachian” way of coming together to lean on each other.

Wyoming County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

A mining company has agreed to plug the water wells on a Wyoming County road, where residents say it's responsible for property damage after an explosion.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Pinnacle Mining Company agreed to pay for the wells to be plugged and to monitor the Pineville area for methane gas after last month's hearing in federal court.

Jessica Lilly

In this week’s Inside Appalachia, we take a look at first generation college students.  We’ll hear about challenges that first generation college students are going through, and how some colleges and universities are trying to help these students stay in school.

WVNS-TV

This week on Inside Appalachia, we hear from first generation college students, like Savanna Lusk, the daughter of an underground coal miner and Logan Bays the son of a former surface miner. Host Jessica Lilly spoke on WVNS-TV Morning Show, previewing this week's episode.

A professor of linguistics and English at WVU is working to map West Virginia’s dialects and accents.  Kirk Hazen was in Wyoming County earlier this week, collecting interviews from natives.


courtesy of Luke Jackson

High waters are creating dangerous conditions in southern West Virginia. Dispatchers say some residents are being evacuated.

Emergency dispatchers in Wyoming County say that the rainfall Wednesday morning caused a mudslide. One resident in Jesse told dispatchers that part of the mountain slid into their residence. Deputies are on scene evaluating the situation.

Daniel Walker

This week, we’ve been talking about water in the coalfields. We met folks that deal with frequent water outages and boil water advisories because of crumbling water systems, and heard stories of folks living with no water source at all. We also learned that proper sewage disposal is still a challenge.

 

Progress has been made. Just this past year, the Elkhorn Water Project began. It's expected to bring clean water to folks living in several coal camp communities along Route 52 in McDowell County. A project in Wyoming County is expected to bring a permanent solution to water issues in Bud and Alpoca.

Daniel Walker

While the chemical spill in Charleston left more than 300,000 without usable water, it's a problem that folks in the coalfields deal with on a regular basis.

Mountainous regions like southern West Virginia have an abundance of water, but the terrain along with aging infrastructure create challenges, just as it has for decades.

A Wyoming County judge has ordered a coal operator to replace the water supplies of residents living near one of its mines.

Circuit Judge Warren McGraw granted an injunction sought by more than a dozen residents living near Mechel Bluestone's Dynamic Energy Inc. mining complex. The residents alleged that their water supplies were damaged by the mining operations.

McGraw's ruling says water test results submitted by the plaintiffs showed high levels of arsenic, aluminum, lead, iron and other pollutants.

According to request filed by attorneys at law Hannah and Hanna PLLC back in August, Black Diamond Power admits to overcharging customers $1,686,338 admits to collecting over a five year period.

The document indicates that the company serves about 4,300 so that’s about $385 per customer.

The company proposes to refund $488, 307 to customers over a five year period which would come through a rate reduction.  But Black Diamond Power wants to treat the remaining money, treat the remaining $1.198 million as a “customer contribution.”

It appears that the Staff of the Public Service Commission filed recommendations on October 1. In that document, the staff of PSC recommends about $900,000 be recorded as a customer contribution and a reduction of rate base.


Thirty West Virginians were killed as a result of domestic violence in just a year’s time during the last reporting period, between October 2012 and September 2013. It’s situation that Wyoming County native Christy Salters Martin is all too familiar with.

The six-time World Boxing Council Champion found herself fighting for her life after her former husband and manager tried to kill her. The former boxer is now sharing her story with the hopes of helping other victims.


Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Wyoming County is instituting an adult drug court program aimed at stemming abuse.

The Register-Herald reports that the new program is expected to be operational July 1.

Officials say the program is designed to reduce criminal recidivism and substance abuse among "targeted offenders" through a specialized court.

During a meeting last week, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall said drug courts are a vital tool that serve as an alternative to imprisonment and are proven to save lives as well as money.

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