News Around the State...
Sat, 21 Jul 2018 19:17:42 GMT
A three-judge panel in West Virginia has approved a city council's request to remove Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber from office. News outlets report the judges dismissed several of the Richwood council's allegations, but agreed Baber used city funds to reimburse personal power and cellphone bills and misused his city purchasing card. Baber says he had not read the panel's findings in detail but criticized the council for wasting time and money on what he called a "witch hunt." Baber led Richwood in the wake of the June 2016, flood, garnering attention to the community's recovery efforts. The judicial panel said Friday that Baber's actions were "the epitome of an improper abuse of one's political position." The panel was established by the state Supreme Court and led by Fayette Circuit Judge Paul Blake Jr.
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 23:07:26 GMT
The West Virginia National Guard’s Quality Assurance and Control team have inspected and approved eight more new homes this week built for families affected by major flooding in June 2016. In a press release, the Guard said the homes meet building standards.
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 20:03:23 GMT
Between 1999 and 2015, roughly 300,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. And of the five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2016, four were in Appalachia. In this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear a special report from The Uncertain Hour , a podcast from American Public Media's Marketplace. Their investigation, which first aired in December, centered on a lesser-known but significant aspect of the opioid crisis: how Purdue Pharma marketed OxyContin, its highly addictive pain medication.
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 19:47:28 GMT
The West Virginia Personnel Board has voted to eliminate civil service protection for the state Budget Office director. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the vote Thursday will take effect Saturday, as the Budget Director Mike McKown's joins the State Auditor's Office as a deputy auditor.
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 19:37:10 GMT
You know those historic metal plaques that sit along West Virginia roadways and describe historic events or the stories behind small towns? Imagine the same idea -- but in a digital version. Five years ago, David Trowbridge, a history professor at Marshall University, created Clio , a digital history guide with more than 30,000 original entries from sites across the country. The app and website were recently honored by the National Humanities Alliance in Washington D.C. Trowbridge is so passionate about this project, he started with $10,000 of his own money and continues to help fund it, with the help of donations and grants. He said he's trying to create a "museum experience ... as if the physical place became a museum, where every building, landmark, historical marker, place where something happened is an artifact just waiting for you to explore it." Clio is location-based and includes a text-to-voice function that Trowbridge hopes eventually to replace with real voices. The
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 19:22:33 GMT
More than 40 West Virginians traveled to Staunton, Virginia earlier this week to hold a protest at a juvenile detention center. The center housed migrant children who filed child abuse reports against the facility. The protest was organized by the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Staunton Virginia (WVIRM), a group of religious leaders and activists from the Kanawha Valley.
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 19:19:24 GMT
West Virginia Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito say the state is receiving $1.2 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to battle surface water pollution. A release from the two U.S. senators says the grant will also help West Virginia implement an "effective underground storage tank state regulatory program."
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:09:14 GMT
This is a developing story and will be updated. A tour of Supreme Court offices has been delayed following concerns about press freedom and potential violations of West Virginia’s open meetings laws as some state delegates push for court transparency. Members of the House Judiciary Committee also agreed to make their tour of the court conditional upon media access being granted to three pool reporters from the press corps covering potential impeachment proceedings of one or more state Supreme Court justices.
Fri, 20 Jul 2018 13:00:00 GMT
On this West Virginia Morning, state lawmakers have resumed hearings on the possible impeachment of one or more state Supreme Court justices. Members of the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Thursday from four current employees of the court -- focused mainly on suspended Justice Allen Loughry. Senior reporter Dave Mistich talks about the third day of testimony in these impeachment investigations.
Thu, 19 Jul 2018 20:14:09 GMT
One in five working coal miners in central Appalachia who have worked at least 25 years now suffer from the coal miners' disease black lung . That's the finding from the latest study tracking an epidemic of the incurable and fatal sickness. It's the highest rate in a quarter century and indicates that the disease continues to afflict more miners in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. "We haven't seen this rate of black lung since before the early '90s," says Cara Halldin, an epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and one of the authors of the study. Black lung results from the inhalation of coal and silica dust during coal mining. Lung tissue is scarred by the dust, which diminishes the ability to breathe. The study's researchers reviewed nearly fifty years of coal miner X-rays taken as part of a national NIOSH effort to identify disease among working coal miners. They compared the last five years of X-rays with those taken earlier. In
Thu, 19 Jul 2018 19:48:46 GMT
For more information on the potential Supreme Court impeachments, see this explainer . West Virginia lawmakers have resumed hearings on the possible impeachment of one or more state Supreme Court justices. Members of the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Thursday from four current employees of the court -- focused mainly on suspended Justice Allen Loughry.
Thu, 19 Jul 2018 18:52:08 GMT
The New River Gorge National River in West Virginia will receive a grant to bolster a partnership aimed at getting local residents involved in recreational activities.
Thu, 19 Jul 2018 14:15:57 GMT
A staffer who resigned from a housing program aimed at helping West Virginia flood victims now has a job with its largest contractor. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported Wednesday that Russell Tarry left his job in the state Department of Commerce administrating RISE West Virginia in June as scandal arose around the $150 million federally funded program.
Thu, 19 Jul 2018 13:00:00 GMT
On this West Virginia Morning, with thousands of miles of new natural gas pipelines going in the ground in Appalachia and other regions, the government agency in charge of gas line infrastructure recently asked for input on how to improve the pipeline approval process. The comment period has been open since late April. As Nancy Andrews reports, hundreds of people and organizations have submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC.
Thu, 19 Jul 2018 01:36:33 GMT
A pilot-scale facility that extracts valuable rare earth elements from coal waste byproducts officially opened its doors this week at West Virginia University. Advocates of the project are hopeful that environmental waste left by Appalachia’s coal mining legacy could one day fuel an economic boom in the region while also providing some national security.
Wed, 18 Jul 2018 20:25:13 GMT
Seventy-five-year-old farmer Curtis Johnson doesn’t object to pipelines, but does take issue with some of their construction practices. Johnson sold easements to the nearly completed 713-mile Rover Pipeline , which originates in the Ohio Valley and is designed to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas to Michigan and Canada. In May, he submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the federal agency in charge of approving interstate natural gas pipelines. In his comments he described problems he encountered during pipeline construction where good topsoil got mixed up with sub-soils like clay on his Ohio farm. “I do not think the pipeline should be given certificates to proceed without all the land owners knowing and agreeing to what is going to happen with the installation process,” he said in his letter. For Johnson, his farm, which was settled by his great-great-grandfather and has remained in the family since, is a major part of his identity. He
Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:42:38 GMT
Things have changed in the old neighborhood. There are cool little restaurants and cafes, funky little shops and a vibrant art and music scene. On one side, you have the newcomers— people who came here to open new businesses and live in this trendy neighborhood. On the other side you have the old guard — the people who grew up here, before it was trendy, and have been watching the place they call home rapidly dissolve all around them.
Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:08:44 GMT
The dog and horse racing industries have played a major role in West Virginia’s economy since the mid-1930s. But in recent years, lawmakers at the statehouse have debated whether these industries fit into the state’s economic future. Those who support the racing industry are fighting to see it survive, while others say it doesn’t bring in revenue like it once did.
Wed, 18 Jul 2018 13:55:59 GMT
United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts fired up a crowd of thousands of union workers in Columbus, Ohio, with a simple chant: “Fix it!” The rally last week came on the eve of a congressional field hearing on problems plaguing multi-employer pension programs like the one retired miners depend upon.
Wed, 18 Jul 2018 13:34:41 GMT
On this West Virginia Monring, the dog and horse racing industries have played a major role in West Virginia’s economy since the mid-1930s. But in recent years, whether these industries fit into the state’s economic future is something that’s been debated at the statehouse. As Liz McCormick reports, those who support the racing industry are fighting to see it survive, while others say it doesn’t bring in the revenue it once did.