Boone County

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

At least six local health departments in West Virginia have now reported coronavirus outbreaks related to  churches. 

As of Wednesday, the state reported 34 positive cases of COVID-19 at the Graystone Baptist Church in Greenbrier County, four positive cases at the First Baptist Church in Ohio County and four active cases at the Church of Christ in Bloomingrose, Boone County. 

June 4, 1971: Glenn Elmo Riggs Hijacks Plane At Kanawha Airport

Jun 4, 2020
Glen Riggs arrested
Skyjacker of the Day /

On June 4, 1971, West Virginia’s only documented plane hijacking occurred in Charleston. Glenn Elmo Riggs, a 58-year-old retired coal miner from Boone County, hijacked a United Airlines flight that had stopped over at Kanawha Airport—now known as Yeager Airport. 

He boarded the flight with a .32-caliber pistol and a box of bullets. Shortly after takeoff, he hijacked the 737 and demanded that the pilots fly him to Israel so he could help build a new temple.

A sign on the door of the polling place at Morgantown High School on Nov. 6, 2018, in the South Park neighborhood of Morgantown, W.Va.
Jesse Wright / WVPB

Days after the governor issued a stay home order on March 23, Secretary of State Mac Warner announced his office was opening absentee voting to all of the state’s roughly 1.2 million registered voters. 

Since then, nearly 18 percent of those registered so far, or 214,852 people, have requested an absentee ballot from their county clerks. 

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Only eight months after launching West Virginia’s first family treatment court, Boone County Judge William Thompson said the coronavirus pandemic caused some drastic changes to the program.

Family treatment court is a “problem solving court.” Instead of punishing parents in the abuse and neglect system for their addiction, it connects them to treatment options and resources to improve their parenting.

April 7, 1981: Poet Roy Lee Harmon Dies at 80

Apr 7, 2020
Roy Lee Harmon
West Virginia Division of Culture and History

Poet Roy Lee Harmon died on April 7, 1981, at age 80. The founder of the West Virginia Poetry Society, Harmon was born in Boone County, grew up in Danville, and graduated from Scott District School. He attended Morris Harvey College, which is now the University of Charleston, before becoming a reporter and eventually city editor for the Raleigh Register newspaper in Beckley.

February 28, 1909: Athlete John Zontini Born in Boone County

Feb 28, 2020
In his freshman year playing football at Marshall College (now University), he rushed for 865 yards, and his season of 9.5 rushing yards per carry is still a Marshall record.
E-WV/The Humanities Council

John Zontini was born in Boone County on February 28, 1909. To this day, he’s considered one of the greatest athletes in West Virginia history.

He was nicknamed the “Sheik of Seth” because of his great football career at Sherman High School, located at Seth in Boone County. His 1929 rushing average of 27 yards per carry remains a state high school record. In 1931, he also set the state javelin record with a throw of 172 feet, one inch.

February 24, 1918: Judge K. K. Hall Born in Boone County

Feb 24, 2020
Scale of Justice
Wikimedia Commons

Judge Kenneth Keller “K. K.” Hall was born in Boone County on February 24, 1918. During World War II, he served on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, earning 11 battle stars.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

An alternative solution to West Virginia’s substance use epidemic and foster care crisis already is “off the ground and running,” according to the Boone County Circuit Court Judge William Thompson.

Andrew Harnick / AP Photo

Drug-ravaged West Virginia has opened its first family treatment court aimed at protecting children while helping parents facing the loss of custody to overcome substance abuse disorders.

The court's debut at the Boone County Courthouse in Madison was celebrated Monday. Family treatment courts also will open in Ohio and Randolph counties.

Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Spend a Monday at the Boone County courthouse, and you’ll see judges and public attorneys overwhelmed with a surging number of child abuse and neglect cases.   

US Department of Agriculture

On Monday, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice shared his recommendations for the next round of Appalachian Regional Commission projects in the state. 

The ARC is a partnership between the federal government and the 13 Appalachian states. The agency awards federal dollars for infrastructure and economic development projects across the region.

W.Va. Students to Join March For Our Lives

Mar 23, 2018
Molly Born / WVPB

Up to a half-million people were expected in Washington, D.C., Saturday for the March for Our Lives, a demonstration advocating school safety, organized by the survivors of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Among those planning to join the cause were several student-activists from southern West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from West Virginia high schools students gearing up for the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.; a farmer and chef who uses maple syrup as a main ingredient in his recipes; a former coal miner and veteran who has been honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award in volunteerism; and this week's Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

West Virginia mining officials say that a 28-year-old equipment operator for a coal mining company has died.

The Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says the incident occurred about 3 p.m. Tuesday on property owned by Blackhawk Mining in Boone County.

Boone County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

A county school board member in West Virginia being investigated for embezzlement has resigned.

Danny Cantley had served on the Boone County school board for more than two decades.

Two Boone County public school employees are suing because they say their paycheck deductions didn't properly go toward paying for requested supplemental retirement and supplemental insurance coverage.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that a lawsuit was filed recently in Boone Circuit Court against the Boone school board, the school system's current and former superintendents and Stephen Green, the system's director and coordinator of support services.

West Virginia's attorney general has convinced a judge to move the state's lawsuit against the nation's largest wholesale drug distributor out of federal court and back to Boone County.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver ordered Monday that the state's lawsuit against San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. be returned to Boone County Circuit Court.

Over the years, the performers who have recorded Wheeler’s songs read like a Who’s Who of country music.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online.

On December 9, 1932, songwriter, musician, playwright, humorist, and poet Billy Edd Wheeler was born in Boone County. He started writing and performing songs when he was just a teenager.

Wheeler got his first check in the music business when Pat Boone recorded his song “Rock Boll Weevil.” He would go on to write more than 500 other songs, including the country classics “Jackson,” “The Reverend Mister Black,” and “Coward of the County.”

Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia's attorney general has sued a pharmacy in Boone County, alleging it provided too many highly addictive painkillers over more than a decade.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says Larry's Drive-In Pharmacy helped fuel the state's opioid prescription crisis by providing nearly 10 million doses of painkillers in 11 years in a county with fewer than 25,000 residents.

Boone County Schools Vote
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Three schools in Boone County will remain open next year following plans to close them.

The county Board of Education voted Monday night to keep Van Elementary School, Van High School and Whitesville Elementary School open during the 2017-18 school year.

Racine Press Box Fire
Boone County Sheriff

Authorities are investigating after a press box and maintenance building at a football field in Racine was set on fire.

The Boone County Sheriff's Office believes that the person or people responsible for the fire also wrote the phrase "Trump Train" in paint on the field.

Boone County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

The president of the Boone County Board of Education has abruptly resigned.

50-year-old Mark Sumpter signed his resignation letter Friday in the office of Superintendent Jeff Huffman after emailing it earlier in the week.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Many Boone County students have been left without science textbooks because of budget cuts.

Boone County Assistant Superintendent Lisa Beck tells the Charleston Gazette-Mail that the school system disposed of its old science textbooks last spring because they were more than a decade old and officials expected to buy new editions over the summer.

Kanawha Watershed
e-WV / WV Humanitites Council

On September 29, 1861, one of the worst floods on record hit the Kanawha River watershed. The river crested nearly 17 feet above flood stage in Charleston and badly damaged the valley’s salt works.

It also affected an innovative system of dams and locks that’d been built in the 1850s to transport cannel coal on the Coal River. The refined oil from cannel coal was highly popular as a source of home-lighting fuel throughout the East.

Little Coal River
TimK MSI / Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of volunteers floated down a West Virginia river to remove hundreds of discarded tires over the weekend.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports more than 30 volunteers in kayaks, canoes and flat-bottomed boats retrieved at least 650 tires Saturday afternoon from a 9-mile stretch of the Coal River in Boone County.

Boone County Schools Vote
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

About 40 employees of the Boone County School District have resigned amid a budget crisis.

Monday was the deadline for employees to resign ahead of the 2016-17 school year. On July 18, employees were told they would take a $4,000 pay cut in order to help deal with county's budget deficit. They'll also lose health and dental benefits.

Boone County Schools Vote
Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Given one last try, Boone County school board members have voted to cut employee pay and benefits following an ultimatum by the West Virginia state school board to overtake the county's education system.

the county board voted unanimously Monday for the cuts. The average worker will lose thousands of dollars in annual pay along with employer-paid dental and vision insurance coverage.

Slick-o-bot / wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Board of Education could vote this week to take over Boone County's public school system.

State board members tell The Charleston Gazette-Mail that the county board has twice refused the state schools superintendent's orders to make severe employee pay and benefit cuts and submit a "fiscally sufficient" budget for this fiscal and school year.

Slick-o-bot / wikimedia Commons

The Boone County school board has voted to reject orders from state Schools Superintendent Michael Martirano to make severe cuts to employee pay and benefits and lay off workers.

The state rejected the budget that the school board submitted for the 2016-2017 school year. The state then offered a plan that would have funded the district without a budget in place through July, but proposed dozens of layoffs and pay cuts.

Boone County School officials say paychecks could be delayed for employees if legislation doesn't pass that would give the district an extra $2.2 million to address funding shortfalls caused by a drop in local property tax collections.

West Virginia's Republican-led Legislature left town Thursday for a 10-day break after approving a budget that faces an almost-certain veto.