Breaking Local News
It seems like everyone owns a computer these days, but a new federal study says that's not the case in West Virginia. Here, about 35 percent of West Virginia households don't own a computer and that's the second-lowest rate in the nation. The study by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration also says West Virginia has the eighth-lowest Internet adoption rate. About 59 percent of West Virginia households subscribe to high-speed Internet. The national rate is 70 percent. West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council chairman Dan O'Hanlon told the Charleston Gazette that the state is working to expand high-speed Internet access across West Virginia.
West Virginia's congressional delegation is asking President Barack Obama to approve the state's request for federal disaster aid. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin wants a major disaster declaration after the storms in mid-June resulted in flooding, landslides and mudslides. U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin and Representatives Shelley Moore Capito, Nick Rahall and David McKinley sent a letter Friday to the president asking him to review and approve the request.
Construction of a permanent home for the national Boy Scout Jamboree has pumped nearly $170 million in income into the southern West Virginia economy over the past four years, according to an economic-impact report released Monday. The report says about $121 million went directly into the community, while another $48 million was an indirect result of construction spending moving through the community. It also says the Summit Bechtel Reserve near Oak Hill has supported an average of 848 jobs between 2010 and 2013, mostly in the construction industry. Those jobs helped boost local employment indirectly, mainly affecting the utility, restaurant and health care industries. The Jamboree is drawing about 50-thousand people and runs through July 24th. During that time, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says the Jamboree will briefly be the state's third-largest city.
There were no injuries and everything turned out to be fine yesterday, but an airplane made an emergency landing at Yeager Airport. It was an Air National Guard C-130 that was forced to land after it had mechanical problems and had to shut down one of its four engines.
Although it's the biggest, the Boy Scouts National Jamboree isn't the only thing drawing youth to the area. The third annual West Virginia Youth Science Camp is happening this week in Ripley. The camp for rising 10th-graders started Monday and continues through July 22. It's modeled after the National Youth Science Camp held annually in Pocahontas County. Topics include snakes, the Clean Water Act, deer management and the science of baseball. The West Virginia Department of Education and the National Youth Science Foundation are hosting the camp at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center.
The Charleston Fire Dept. will start training new firefighters today. It's one of the largest training classes in recent memory, with 13 new firefighters scheduled to take part. Eleven of those are from out of state. They'll train for the next fifteen weeks on things like how to knock down fires, and also water and vehicle rescues. Many of them are already paramedics, and will now train to fight fires.
A report has been issued about a February mining death. The state Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training has cited Pocahontas Coal after a worker died in an underground mine elevator, because a safety device was deactivated and hadn't been inspected for at least a year. 43-year old Edward Finney of Bluefield died February 7th in the accident at Affinity Mine near Sophia in Raleigh County. Pocahantas Coal said in a statement they've modified their safety programs to incorporate state recommendations.
Police are investigating after a man was robbed at a park on Charleston's East End. Police say the man was walking through Living Aids Memorial Park on Elizabeth Street just before 11 p.m Saturday when the suspect came up and asked the man for a dollar. When the victim pulled out his wallet, the suspect pulled out a gun and demanded everything. The victim wasn't hurt, and he was able to call police, who are still investigating.
A man beaten with brass knuckles Saturday on Charleston's West Side has been taken to a Morgantown hospital. Police say the victim, Marvin Gillespie, was a random victim and suffered serious injuries around his right eye. The accused attacker, 22-year old Joshua Blanchett, was a fugitive from justice. Because of erratic behavior, Blanchett had to be arraigned by video because police didn't think it was safe to take him before a judge. Blanchett's next court date is this Thursday.
Alpha Natural Resources says it's reducing its production in the southern West Virginia coalfields and laying off miners. The company says the reductions will impact about 100 employees, but about 80 of them will be offered other positions. There are reports that Alpha is idling White Buck Coal's Pocahontas mine in Rupert. A section of the Grassy Creek Mine also will be shut down. Other plants in Nicholas, Greenbrier, Raleigh and Boone counties will also be impacted. The company says the reductions are primarily due to an oversupply of metallurgical coal resulting in a price drop.