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The Fayette County commission is doing what it can to help retired mine workers keep their benefits. Commissioners approved a petition Saturday morning supporting the United Mine Workers of America, and the petition has been sent to UMWA headquarters. Without action from bankrupt Patriot Coal, some retired workers could lose their benefits starting today, July 1.
Charleston attorney Dana Eddy has been appointed executive director of the West Virginia Public Defender Services. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says Eddy's appointment is effective today and he's replacing Jack Rogers, who retired. Eddy has run his own law firm since 2007 and has served as general counsel for former Gov. Gaston Caperton.
Students who have been taking the government subsidized Stafford loans are seeing their interest rates double today. Without a deal from lawmakers, about 7 million students would see their rates go from current levels of 3.4 percent up to 6.8 percent. Lawmakers worked behind the scenes all weekend to try to reach a deal that would keep steady. No deal was reached, but it's possible that lawmakers could reverse the rate with a deal in the coming days.
We brought you the story this week of a Sissonville fire fighter who died of a medical condition while responding to a blaze, and now services have been set. And also, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered all flags at state-owned facilities in Kanawha County lowered to half-staff today to honor John Appleton. He was a Malden Volunteer Fire Department member and chaplain who died Monday after collapsing on the scene of a fire. A semi-private service for the family, church members and Malden VFD is set for this morning. A donation fund has been set up too, at any Poca Valley Bank in the name of the Happy Hollow Road Fire Fund.
Changes are coming to the way student loans are paid back. In 2012 about 60,000 higher education students used federal subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for their education, according to the state Higher Education Policy Commission. Beginning Monday, any student who signs up for the loans will face interest rates of 6.8 percent, which is double the current rate. The Charleston Gazette reports Senator Joe Manchin and five other senators are fighting the hike, and introduced a plan Thursday in Washington that would prevent the rates from doubling. The plan would impose a fixed-rate over the life of loans while keeping the cap on consolidated loans at 8.25 percent.
A Clay County jury has found Hiram Lewis not guilty. Lewis is a former U.S. Senate candidate charged with malicious wounding in a shooting incident a year ago at his home. He testified during the trial that he shot Stephen Bogart in the leg after Bogart broke into his home, but it was in self-defense. The jury found Lewis not guilty on Wednesday night. Lewis, a Republican, made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2006. He also made unsuccessful runs for state attorney general in 2004 and 2008.
Fire not only destroyed a home in Sissonville early Thursday, but thousands of dollars worth of antiques were destroyed along with that. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation...it happened on Apple Tree Lane in Sissonville. WCHS TV reports the people who lived in that home died years ago, but the antiques were left in the home. The fire destroyed everything, and the antiques were worth a reported 100-thousand dollars.
A Kanawha County man has pleaded guilty to robbing a Charleston bank in April. 40-year old Danny Summers of Dunbar, pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery during a hearing this week in Kanawha County Circuit Court, and sentencing has been set for August, when Summers will face five to 18 years in prison. The robbery happened at Fifth Third Bank at 4515 MacCorkle Ave.
Charleston's East End has a good excuse to shop. East End Mainstreet is hosting a "Warehouse Walk" which will showcase several of the businesses on the East End this weekend. The businesses that are part of the event will offer specials, as well as refreshments, to shoppers. The first walk will take place this Saturday June 29 and it will continue monthly.
In-state tuition is increasing at least 6 percent at five West Virginia higher education institutions. The Higher Education Policy Commission approved tuition increases for the 2013-2014 academic year at Bluefield State College and West Virginia, West Virginia State, Fairmont State and Shepherd universities. The increases approved Tuesday ranges from 6 percent at WVU to 9 percent at West Virginia State. Tuition also is going up at other state schools. But those increases are less than 5 percent. The commission's approval is required if tuition increases exceed 5 percent. All state colleges and universities are facing a 9 percent cut in state funding for the fiscal year that begins July 1.