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A foundation was set up after a settlement following the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, and now the grants are starting to be awarded for research. US Attorney Booth Goodwin announced about $10 million in mine safety research grants have been awarded so far, that will help scientists work on making mines safer. West Virginia University and Virginia Tech are among those receiving money to conduct studies. Alpha Natural Resources funded the foundation as part of its $209 million settlement that helped them avoid prosecution after the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in 2010.
It's October 1, and that means the federal Health Insurance Marketplace is active, under President Obama's Affordable Care Act. To find out your health insurance options, just go to www.healthcare.gov and fill out your financial information, and it will tell you what health insurance options are available. If you're eligible for Medicaid - which in West Virginia is a $32,000 salary for a family of four - the website will help you apply. If you already have health insurance and like your coverage, there's no reason to log onto the marketplace. But if you want to window show, you can see if lower-cost options are available.
Changes in West Virginia's economic landscape will be explored today at the 20th annual Economic Outlook conference, held at the Embassy Suites in Charleston. Andy Bauer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Baltimore branch will lay out the national picture. Economists with the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research will then give their predictions on the outlook for the state. In the broad scopt, the conference will focus on important topics such as job and population growth, which industries are growing and which aren't, and West Virginia exports.
A driver who lost control was killed Monday night in a rollover accident in Kanawha County. It happened on Bellwood Drive in the Lakewood area, according to Metro 911 dispatchers. The driver died at the scene after losing control and flipping into a ravine. One passenger had minor injuries.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that wanted to preserve benefits for bankrupt Patriot Coal's active and retired miners. The United Mine Workers of America filed the lawsuit last year, saying the companies set up spinoff companies to rid themselves of their benefits obligations. The lawsuit argued they were still responsible for those benefits under the federal Employee Retirement and Income Securities Act. But the judge sided with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, ruling the law doesn't protect a pension fund's financial stability.
UMW President Cecil Roberts told The Charleston Gazette the union plans to appeal.
A $700,000 federal grant could mean that airline travelers can again move between Charleston and Orlando. There has not been a direct flight out of Yeager Airport since June of 2012 when AirTran stopped its route. Southwest Airlines is the parent company. The Charleston Gazette reports the grant money will be used primarily as bait to attract a low-fare airline, and be used toward its marketing and to ease the airline's startup costs. The grant was recently announced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
In case you missed it, water rates are going up next month for 171,000 West Virginia American Water customers. The state Public Service Commission approved an agreement late last week to raise rates by 6.7 percent starting Oct. 11. Customers with the Fayetteville water system will see a 14 percent rate increase to help pay for repairs to a sewage treatment plant the company acquired in 2008. The company is spreading the costs of that project among customers throughout the state in order to avoid a much bigger an increase for Fayetteville customers. The agreement also keeps the company from filing for another rate increase until January 2015.
A traffic issue to watch out for this morning....Eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 in Putnam County are impacted this morning after diesel spill. The accident involving a semi happened around 1:30 this morning, and lanes near the Bills Creek overpass were closed most of the night. The accident caused a spill of nearly 200 gallons of diesel fuel.
On Wednesday the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office along with the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Cuffed Task Force were following up on a tip that lead them to 809 ½ Somerset Drive in Charleston looking for 48-year old Darryl Duncan. Cpl. BD Humphreys was wanted in Uniontown PA for 2 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle as well several other charges, and he was arrested and charged as a fugitive from justice.
A man is facing charges for a weekend incident in Rand. Cpl BD Humphreys tells us Robert Lee Critchfield was arrested for malicious wounding after Roger Fore was injured and taken to an area hospital for treatment. Fore said a man approached him asking for a cigarette and when he said he had none the suspect beat him with an object which caused blunt force trauma injuries and cuts. The investigation is ongoing, so anyone with tips should contact the Kanawha County Sheriff's office.