Breaking Local News

WV Jobless Rate Drops

West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.9 percent in January. WorkForce West Virginia says the number of unemployed residents fell 700 in January to 46,900. In the goods-producing sector, employment gains were seen in construction, mining and logging, while the state experienced job losses in manufacturing. In the service sector, employment gains were seen in information, financial activities, leisure and hospitalities and in other services. There were declines in trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, educational and health services, and government. The national unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December.

Chemical Spill Investigation Widens

FBI investigators looked through records Thursday at Diversified Services That's the company that transported chemicals for Freedom Industries. FBI agents took away computers, paperwork, and boxes yesterday afternoon. Freedom Industries is at the center of the investigation into the January 9th chemical spill that contaminated the Elk River. Diversified Services is the company that hauled the crude MCHM off when the Department of Environmental Protection ordered it be removed from the Charleston facility.

Amber Alert Issued For Maryland Girl

An Amber Alert has been issued for 11-year-old Caitlyn Virts of Dundalk, MD, and West Virginia State Police are passing along the word to be on the lookout. Police in Maryland think she's with her biological father, Timothy Virts, and they may be driving a 1999 black Dodge Durango with Maryland tags: 5AJ4458. The father has ties to McDowell County in southern West Virginia, as well as Preston County in northern West Virginia, according to West Virginia state police. Officers found the girl's mother dead in the family home around 9 a.m. Thursday morning.

Daughter's Case Goes to Grand Jury in the Death of Mother

The case against Jessica Woods is headed to a grand jury. Woods is accused of killing her mother, Eva Woods of St. Albans, and her body was discovered in an outbuilding on her property. Jessica was arrested at a hotel in the Kanawha City area after being interviewed by deputies. There was a preliminary hearing Thursday, and with probable cause, the case moves on to the grand jury.

Car Tour Heads to Charleston This Summer

An event that's expected to attract car enthusiasts is on its way to Charleston, and it could generate nearly a million dollars for the city. Hot Rod Magazine will bring its Power Tour to Charleston this summer, and auto collectors and fans will be able to explore custom cars and trucks. Charleston isn't the only stop...the tour will actual set up its exhibits in seven cities in seven days and Charleston is the third stop on the tour. The cars will be on display along the Kanawha Boulevard on June 9 from noon until 7 p.m.

Utility Customers May Be Paying More

Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power are seeking $68 million more from customers to make up for past and ongoing fuel costs. The companies filed their request with the Public Service Commission this week and said the additional money would plug a gap between the amount currently being collected and projected expenditures through the next annual filing period. The monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month would increase from $94 to just over $98, an increase of 4.4 percent.

Settlement Reached With Alpha Natural Resources

One of the nation's largest coal producers will pay a $27.5 million fine and is set to spend $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges into waterways across five Appalachian states. The proposed settlement is the largest ever of its kind. The Associated Press obtained details before the settlement involving Alpha Natural Resources Inc. was filed in court in West Virginia. The government says the company and its subsidiaries violated water pollution limits in state-issued permits more than 6,000 times between 2006 and 2013. The government says they discharged heavy metals harmful to fish and other wildlife directly into rivers and streams. The companies agreed to take measures to reduce discharges from 79 active coal mines and 25 processing plants in Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Water Safeguard Bill Passes the House

After weeks of debate and rewrites, West Virginia House delegates passed new chemical spill safeguards for storage tanks and water supplies. The proposal that the House cleared 95-0 on Wednesday reacts to the Freedom Industries leak on Jan. 9. Lawmakers say the bill reforms a regulatory gray area by adding inspections and registrations at many above-ground storage tanks. About 150 water systems would need protection plans. Delegates added a health monitoring program Wednesday. The bill requires the water company in the spill to install early detection technology for contaminants or explain why it can't. The House and Senate need to work out a compromised bill by Saturday's end to the legislative session.

Vote Could Come Today on Water Safety Bill

A bill strengthening chemical spill safeguards for storage facilities and public water companies is headed to the House of Delegates floor. Under the bill, most above ground tanks holding more than 1,320 gallons would face yearly inspections. About 150 public water systems would have to spell out protection plans. The committee also stripped a requirement that West Virginia American Water implement an early warning monitoring system. The company said it could have cost millions of dollars. The bill also no longer requires a long-term health monitoring program. The proposal will get a vote today on the House Floor, and then the Senate and House would need to compromise on the final bill.

Hospitals Work Together to Share Knowledge

Princeton Community Hospital is affiliating with Charleston Area Medical Center to expand and improve its services. A clinical affiliation agreement recently approved by the Princeton hospital's Board of Directors follows three years of strategic planning. Princeton Community Hospital chief operating officer Jeffrey E. Lilley tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that the affiliation will allow both hospitals to share knowledge and expertise. He says the affiliation is focusing on cardiology and cancer treatment. A future goal is to develop rural residency rotations at the Princeton hospital.

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