The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Jim Justice
Steve Helber / AP

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has donated a combined $20,000 to the state Republican Party while his family businesses' have tax debts in neighboring states.

hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com

Hollywood Casino in Charles Town is the first casino licensed to offer sports betting in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Lottery Commission made the announcement Monday. Commission legal counsel Danielle Boyd told The Charleston Gazette-Mail the casino expects to start accepting bets Sept. 1, after installing software and training employees.

Former Massey CEO and West Virginia Republican Senatorial candidate, Don Blankenship, speaks during a town hall to kick off his campaign in Logan, W.Va., Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

Democrats make up the bulk of signatures so far on a petition to let ex-coal executive Don Blankenship run in West Virginia's U.S. Senate race as the Constitution Party's nominee, preliminary data shows.

Roads to Prosperity Highway Program Map, Total Projects by Count
wv.gov

West Virginia Division of Highways documents show that bids for the first major "Roads to Prosperity" highways construction project have exceeded estimates by more than $100 million.

Concord University's Marsh Hall Bell Tower.
Christopher Ziemnowicz / CZmarlin / wikimedia Commons

A report looking at higher education in West Virginia has recommended merging the governing boards of Bluefield State College, Concord University, Glenville State College and West Virginia State University.

The report labels those four schools "medium risk to high risk" in sustainability. It says the four are "sustainable in the short-term, but their futures are uncertain." The report recommended the move, in the short term, for Bluefield and Concord, and in the long term for Glenville and WVSU.

Governors Mansion
Enrichyourmind / Wikimedia Commons

The Governor's Mansion in West Virginia has hosted seven private receptions, luncheons or dinners since Jan. 1, according to a newspaper report.

That works out to one event every 25 days so far this year, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

An advisory panel has sent a list of recommendations to West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice for a vacant judicial position.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports eight people applied this month to be appointed to the vacant Kanawha County Circuit Court judge position following the retirement of James Stucky in April. Stucky spent 21 years presiding over cases in Kanawha County.

Jim Justice
Scott Halleran / Getty Images

Update from Jun. 21, 2018 at 5:41 p.m.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has quashed a proposal to raise parking rates for state employees.

The state Department of Administration proposed the increase June 11 as well as higher fines for some parking violations. The plan was to have been open for public comment for one month.

Mountaineer Opry House in Milton, W.Va.
West Virginia Division of Culture and History

The Mountaineer Opry House in Milton is set to close its doors permanently next month.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the new owner, medical provider Valley Health, will then take over the property. Eighty-three-year-old Larry Stephens has managed the bluegrass hotspot since 1991. He says the Opry House has to be off the property by June 19.

West Virginia's Bureau for Public Health has officially suspended the certification of a harm reduction program following concerns over its needle exchange component.

needle exchange sign
Mary Meehan / Ohio Valley ReSource

An audit requested by a West Virginia mayor who said a needle exchange program had caused an increase of dirty needles in public places has recommended the suspension of the program's certification.

West Virginia's secretary of state says more than 50,000 West Virginians have taken advantage of the early voting period this election cycle.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that as of early Friday, 50,225 ballots had been cast across West Virginia.

View of the Allegheny Front from Bear Rocks Preserve
Chad Matlick

A land donation will more than double the size of the Bear Rocks Preserve in West Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that near 2 square miles of land along the Allegheny Front, the eastern rim of the Dolly Sods plateau, has been donated to the Nature Conservancy of West Virginia. The gift was made possible through donations from the Ann C. and Robert O. Orders Jr. Family Foundation and Maryland resident Dan Montgomery.

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College located in Martinsburg, Berkeley County.
John Hale / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

All but one of West Virginia's public community and technical colleges are planning to increase tuition and fees for associate's degrees.

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission official Matt Turner tells The Charleston Gazette-Mail that the Community and Technical College System presumes the colleges have already approved the average increase of 2.6 percent. CTSC data shows the average yearly cost will increase to $4,040 next academic year.

Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
Pixabay

Cabell County is leading West Virginia in the number of fatal overdoses for the second year in a row.

Citing state data, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports 909 people died of drug overdoses in West Virginia in 2017, an increase from the previous record of 887, set in 2016. Overdose deaths seemed to slow during late 2017, though the state Health Statistics Center says that could be due to reporting delays.

Dominick Guzzo / Flickr

West Virginia's capital could soon be home to a spirited new attraction.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals approved a conditional use permit for a downtown microdistillery Thursday. Jeff Arthur's proposed Mountain State Distillery would allow visitors to witness the entire process of distilling alcoholic beverages, including whiskey, rum, vodka and moonshine.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail logo.
Twitter

The new owner of the Charleston Gazette-Mail says the newspaper's vice president of circulation is being promoted to publisher.

HD Media announced Thursday that 64-year-old Jim Heady would take over the role on April 1.

Brunch, Alcohol
MAT HAYWARD / Dollar Photo Club

A West Virginia distillery has been awarded a loan to buy more equipment and increase production of its distilled moonshine whiskey and flavored moonshine.

BotMultichillT / wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia fire department has been temporarily shut down over outdated equipment and inadequate staffing.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports state Fire Marshal spokesman Tim Rock says the Northfork Volunteer Fire Department voluntarily closed earlier this month following an investigation. Rock says the department has 180 days to correct the violations.

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online

Legendary Charleston Gazette Publisher Ned Chilton called it "sustained outrage." He said it wasn't enough to do a story or two about an injustice - it took in-depth coverage to fix a wrong.

But with the Gazette-Mail going bankrupt, supporters are concerned about that tradition of investigative reporting. How can we keep accountability journalism healthy and strong in West Virginia?

The owners of the Charleston Gazette-Mail agreed Monday to take the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to an announcement that was posted on the Gazette-Mail's website Monday afternoon. 

Wheeling Newspapers is currently the high bidder to assume ownership of the company. 

On The Legislature Today, we bring you another reporter roundtable revisiting the week that was and pondering the week to come. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by her statehouse colleagues Brad McElhinny of West Virginia MetroNews and making his first appearance on The Legislature Today, Ryan Quinn, education reporter for the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

A West Virginia public library system will soon limit the number of personal items patrons can bring into facilities.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that starting Feb. 1, the Kanawha County Public Library system will limit patrons to three bags and will ban wheeled devices with some exceptions, including wheelchairs and strollers.

Electron / Wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Board of Education has agreed to reduce the credits required to graduate from the state's high schools from 24 to 22, allowing two fewer elective classes.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that change will apply in the next school year.

vote, voting, polls
Jeff Gentner / AP Photo

Starting this year, West Virginians must show identification before they can vote in an election.

A law passed by the Legislature last year took effect Monday. For any election, voters in West Virginia have to present a valid form of ID or have another registered voter vouch for them under oath.

Harrison County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

State officials are expressing hope that a trade dispute over Canadian aircraft won't affect hundreds of people working at the company's service center in West Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that about 400 people work at Bombardier's commercial aircraft service center in Bridgeport. The facility at North Central West Virginia Airport in October picked up 89 jobs from Bombardier's shuttered maintained operations in Georgia.

West Virginia Supreme Court chamber
West Virginia Judiciary

The chief justice of West Virginia's highest court has been parting with furniture this week.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that workers on Thursday took a desk from Justice Allen Loughry's Charleston home to a Supreme Court warehouse.

Wood County 911

A new lawsuit over the industrial fire that burned for a week in West Virginia targets the chemical manufacturer who sold products stored in the building.

Cecelia Mason

The former superintendent of West Virginia's state schools for blind and deaf students has filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse his firing.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

A United Nations expert on extreme poverty and human rights will visit West Virginia's capital city during a fact-finding trip to the United States.

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