Breaking Local News
A provision inserted into the new federal healthcare law will mean rebates for thousands of West Virginians. Under the law, healthcare companies cannot spent more than twenty percent of revenues on administrative costs, and the difference must be rebated to customers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says most of the rebates will go people who buy their own health insurance. In West Virginia, more than sixteen thousand customers will share $2.7 million in rebates this year.
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund announced a program that may result in more single-family homes being built. It's a reintroduced program that encourages builders and modular home dealerships to build and market the homes. Under the program, the fund agrees to buy qualifying homes from qualified builders at a percentage of a home's appraised value if the builder can't sell the home during a defined market period.
A Kanawha County Schools bus driver is in trouble with the law. 37-year old Samuel Larry Burkhamer of Elkview is behind bars after confessing to sexting with a young girl and viewing child porn. Burkhamer allegedly exchanged cell phone numbers with a 12-year-old girl and sent inappropriate messages earlier this year. Police records show Burkhamer confessed to sending the girl the texts and turning up child pornography on web searches. Burkhamer was a substitute bus driver who no longer has a job with the district.
Air passengers out of Beckley have another option. Silver Airways has announced it's started regular passenger service from Washington-Dulles International Airport to Beckley, plus Clarksburg, Lewisburg and Morgantown. Silver Airways has an agreement with United Airlines that allows it to operate under the United Express brand. Out of Beckley, there will be two daily weekday flights, one departure on Saturdays and one departure on Sundays.
A woman's drowning earlier this week is still under investigation. The woman was swimming with friends at the Little Coal River near the Lincoln-Kanawha County line when friends say she slipped in the water and hit her head on a rock, then floated away. Some fishermen found her later downstream and they performed first aid until emergency crews could get there, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. West Virginia State police are handling the investigation.
A lack of immunizations can keep a student out of school. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has announced walk-in vaccination clinics over the next three weeks. The first is Monday, August 6th from 8am to 4pm, and there are others scheduled for August 8,10, 14 and 20 from 8 a.m.to 4 p.m. All of the clinics are being held at the health department office along Lee Street in Charleston.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller had a new responsibility yesterday as chair over a Washington hearing over online retailers and state sales tax laws. Rockefeller has said in the past that land-based retailers in West Virginia are at the mercy of a 6 percent to 10 percent price disadvantage when competing with online retailers who don't have to pay the tax. The senator is co-sponsoring legislation that would eliminate that disadvantage.
The US Mine Safety and Health Administration has confirmed that a miner died Tuesday at Arch Coal Inc.’s Beckley Pocahontas Mine in Raleigh County. The MSHA says 43-year old Gregory A Byers of Beckley was hurt when he was struck by a battery-powered scoop and pinned. He was taken to a hospital via amubulance where he died late Tuesday. An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident has begun.
Plenty of folks lined up Wednesday for free ears of corn at the state Capitol. It's become a tradition for State Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass, although someone new will have to take over next year as Douglass is not running for office again. He passed out dozens of ears of sweet corn cooked on the grill at the State Capitol grounds yesterday, which capped the last day of the State Capitol farmers market for this year.
Hearings have wrapped up over Century Aluminum's rates after three days of testimony. Century Aluminum wants a new structure that would protect it from the aluminum price swings of the recession, and has put out a plan where Appalachian Power customers would subsidize the company's power costs when the aluminum market is low. An attorney representing West Virginia's largest manufacturers told the state Public Service Commission the rate request is unreasonable, and asked commissioners to reject the plan. Century Aluminum says the rate increase is necessary and it would help it reopen its Ravenswood smelter. A decision is expected to be issued after August 22nd.