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Hot Race in WV Congressional Primary

West Virginia's 2nd congressional district primary race left wide open by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's decision to run for a U.S. Senate seat is drawing quite a bit of attention. The GOP plans to make Democrats' policies on energy a central issue, including the Obama administration's proposed stringent regulations for new coal-fired power plants. On the Democratic side, the focus will be on improving roads and promoting coal, natural gas and other energy resources to bring jobs to the state and keep young adults from heading out-of-state.

Another Arrest After West Side Shooting

A third person has been arrested after a shooting last week on the West Side. 18-year old Tymel McKinney was shot and killed last week after being shot as he sat on the front porch of a home on 6th Avenue. Darrell Carter was arrested Saturday and charged with first degree murder. Mark Gaddy and a juvenile were arrested Thursday and are also facing charges. Police haven't released information on a possible motive.

Thursday Night Shooting In Institute Under Investigation

Last night a group of men were playing dice outside an apartment complex on Smoot Avenue in Institute and a fight broke out. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says one man produced a handgun and fired several shots and one of those hit another man in the group in the leg. The victim is expected to be okay, but was taken to Thomas Memorial Hospital. At about the same time the suspect and others fled, a vehicle crashed a few blocks away. The occupants of that car fled, too. Cpl B.D. Humphreys says a possible link between the crash and the shooting is being explored. The shooter was described as a black male, approximately six feet tall. Anyone with tips should call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip at www.kanawhasheriff.us.

No Citation For Pipeline Explosion

Williams Energy won't be cited by state environmental regulators for a natural gas pipeline explosion in Marshall County. The April 5 explosion and fire scorched trees over a 2-acre area near Moundsville. Several homes were evacuated as a precaution. Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that the agency didn't find any evidence of groundwater contamination at the site. An investigation of the explosion's cause is continuing.

New River Gorge Fire Nears Containment

Firefighting crews have contained 90 percent of a fire that's burning in the New River Gorge National River. Park ranger Leah Perkowski-Sisk said the fire in the Endless Wall area of the gorge is expected to be fully contained sometime today. The Endless Wall trail is still closed. The fire was reported on Sunday and has burned about 130 acres. The cause is still under investigation, but it looks to be caused by human activity.

State High Court Reinstates Convictions

The West Virginia Supreme Court has reinstated a man's first-degree murder convictions for the 1982 slayings of two people in Marion County. The court ruled that the Ohio County Circuit Court erred when it granted Philip Reese Bush a new trial last year. Bush was convicted in 1983 of killing Charles Dale Goff and Kathleen Jane Williams. His trial was moved to Ohio County because of pretrial publicity. Bush's appeal argued that one of the trial court's jury instructions denied him due process, but the high court didn't agree. Bush is serving two life sentences. He's also a co-defendant in a separate Marion County case involving the slayings of three people in 1974.

Circus Gets Underway Today in Charleston

Elephants will be having a picnic today in Charleston. Elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will dine on fruit and bread today at 2 p.m. on Clendenin Street in front of the Charleston Town Center, according to the mall's website. It's a free event, and anyone can show up to watch. The circus runs today through Sunday at the Charleston Civic Center.

Mines To Lay Off Workers

Patriot Coal plans to cut production at two mining complexes in southern West Virginia and potentially lay off workers. The company has issued 60-day layoff notices to workers at its Wells mining complex near Wharton and its Corridor G complex near Danville. A federal rule requires companies to provide notice to employees if large layoffs are possible. Patriot employs 450 workers at the Wells complex and 397 workers at the Corridor G complex. Patriot president and CEO Bennett K. Hatfield says in a news release that the company needs to align its production with expected sales. He says pricing for both metallurgical and thermal coal is well below production costs at many mines in Central Appalachia.

Ethics Charges Filed Against Kanawha County Magistrate

A county magistrate is facing ethics charges. A commission in charge of a judicial investigation claims Kanawha County Magistrate Ward Harshbarger violated the code of conduct when he denied a domestic violence petition against County Prosecutor Mark Plants. The prosecutor's ex-wife Allison Plants brought the petition in late February, and Harshbarger refused to grant it without a full and fair review. The judicial review commission also says Harshbarger discussed the petition with police officers who weren't involved in the case.

Federal Goverment Rules on Coal Dust

A decision is in and the Obama administration is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease. The decision was announced Wednesday in Morgantown. Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust, where the dust particles accumulate in the lungs. The rule by the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration lowers the overall dust standard from 2.0 to 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter of air. For certain mine entries and miners with black lung disease, the standard is cut in half, from 1.0 to 0.5. The rule also increases the frequency of dust sampling, and requires coal operators to take immediate action when dust levels are high. In addition, coal mine operators will be required to use new technology to provide real-time dust levels. The requirements will be phased in over two years.

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