Monday, June 20, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-21-'11
- A mother was killed and her husband and two children taken to the Logan Regional Medical Center Hospital following a crash between a coal truck and car on Dingess Road near the Dingess Tunnel in Mingo County about 10:00 A.M. Monday. The Mingo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
- West Virginia leads the nation in the number of prescriptions per person at 18.4. West Virginia also leads the nation in overdose fatalities related to non-medical use of prescription drugs. The Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership and the Huntington Police Department is sponsoring a Prescription Drug Take Back event at the United Way of the River Cities office in Huntington Saturday. The event will take place from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. In Cabell County, 16.8 percent of students in 6th through 12th grades report using prescription medications without a prescription.
- Tuesday, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration will publish the final rule on rock dust in underground coal mines in the “Federal Register,” replacing MSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard that was published September 23rd. The final rule requires mine operators to maintain the incombustible content of combined coal dust, rock dust and other dust to at least 80 percent in underground areas of coal mines, as well as an additional 0.4 percent for each 0.1 percent of methane where methane is present in any ventilating current. The final rule increases the total incombustible content for all areas of the mine, other than return air courses, from 65 to 80 percent.
- Monday, Alpha Natural Resources, which recently purchased Massey Energy, announced a pledge of $250,000 to the Upper Big Branch Mining Memorial Group as a match to the first $250,000 the group raises for the memorial. The proposed UBB Miners Memorial, which will honor the 29 miners who died in an explosion last April 5th at the Upper Big Branch mine, is expected to cost a total of $500,000. The Mining Memorial Group started to raise funds for a memorial plaza in Whitesville in February.
- Police have charged Shavan Vondale Collins, 24, of Charleston, with malicious wounding after he allegedly shot 21 year old Dakarri White of Detroit Monday morning at a house on Delaware Avenue on Charleston's West Side. White suffered three gunshot wounds and was taken to Charleston Area Medical Center in serious condition. Police say the crime scene extended outside the house where the shooting took place. Chief of Detectives Steve Cooper says some of the people involved are known to the police department as drug users, and that may well play a part in the shooting.
- Kanawha County Circuit Judge Tod Kaufman says before Monday his most memorable West Virginia Day came in 1963 when he heard President John F. Kennedy speak at the state Capitol as part of the state’s Centennial celebration. Monday afternoon, Tod Kaufman was present for the renaming of the 35th Street Bridge to the Kaufman Memorial 35th Street Bridge in honor of his father, mother and younger brother who died in a car wreck in December 1980. Kaufman's father, Paul Kaufman, served in the state Senate in the 1960s and sponsored several key pieces of legislation. His wife, Rose Jean, was a community leader, and their son Steven was just 20 years old and a sophomore in college when the family was killed by a drunk driver. Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said the Kaufmans decided to help others and their commitment to helping others was evident not only to their family and friends but to Charlestonians and all West Virginians.
- Construction on a long-awaited project in Nitro is set to get started Tuesday. Mayor Rusty Casto says 10 years ago he learned the state was looking for more boat launching facilities on the Kanawha River and he pitched his city's World War I-era location. Casto believes it will make Nitro an attractive place for boaters with a spacious facility to both launch boats and park boat trailers. He says it's capable of holding 55 cars with trailers and room for expansion. Casto says, with the Nitro-St. Albans bridge closing a year from January, people are going to need a place to launch on the Nitro side of the river, and the city has been contacted about the chances of hosting fishing tournaments on the river.
- West Virginia Consumer Advocate Byron Harris says his office will be immersed in the battle between West Virginia American Water Company and the state Public Service Commission. American Water has until the end of the month to file testimony with the PSC explaining why they laid-off 31 employees last month, shortly after the Commission granted the company a much smaller rate increase than it had requested. The company says it was forced to cut 10% of its workforce in order to cover rising costs. The PSC, concerned the company won't be able to provide adequate service because of the lay-offs, forced American Water to put the lay-offs on hold, at least until after an evidentiary hearing set for July 26-27th at their Charleston offices. The water company argues the PSC has overstepped their authority, but Harris disagrees.
- A rally will be held at 3:30 P.M. Wednesday in front of Huntington City Hall. John O’Connor, vice president of Steel of West Virginia, says he plans to file a lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court Wednesday to stop Huntington from implementing an occupation tax. O’Connor says it's not fair to employees, many of them who do not live in Huntington, or utilize the services of the city, to increase their taxes from $156 to $500 a year. O'Connor says he would like to see the court declare the tax unconstitutional and stop the city from implementing it. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit will include Service Employees International Union, District 1199, General Teamsters Local Union No. 505, the Cabell County Commission; Cabell County Commissioner Bob Bailey.
- Bill Stewart, who walked away from his job as West Virginia's head football coach, will get $1.65 million from the university. In announcing Stewart's resignation on June 10th, WVU athletic director Oliver Luck said the former coach would be paid only those sums owed him in his latest contract. Stewart signed an agreement last November that replaced what remained of a six-year contract he signed in September 2008. Under the terms of that agreement, he was to be paid $750,000 in liquidated damages. He was later retained as the school's coach for one more year at a salary of $950,000, along with mention in that agreement of a 30-month position with the university following his eventual termination that would pay him $375,000.
- Bidding for 2011-21 state Limited Video Lottery licenses has raised a total of nearly $70 million for the West Virginia Lottery. The third round of bidding, for the final 657 licenses available, brought in nearly $8 million, with one bidder accounting for more than half that amount. Derrick Video and Music of Charleston, owned by Jerry Derrick, submitted a winning bid for 350 licenses at $12,000 each, for a total of $4.2 million. Derrick Video and Music is one of two video lottery machine distributors holding the maximum 675 licenses allowed under the state Limited Video Lottery law. On March 18th, excised a match option to obtain licenses at an amount equal to the highest winning bid for the second round of bidding. He bought 200 licenses at a cost of $15,003 each, for $3,000,600. Having spent more than $7.2 million, Derrick will be licensed to operate 550 video machines when the new licenses go into effect on July 1st, nearly 20 percent fewer than he currently holds.
Links to this post: