Boone County

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.

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Prescription drug distributors being sued by the state are seeking a closed hearing to explain why they want to keep information about pill shipments secret.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a Boone County judge on May 6 granted the newspaper's request to unseal court records about prescription pain pill shipments to West Virginia.

Boone County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Boone County Schools are cutting back as the school year comes to an end.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports to make it through the June 30 end of this fiscal year, Boone is getting advanced funds from the state and deferring payments owed to companies for items like supplies.

Mike Hennessey / West Virginia Education Association

Boone County Schools is in the process of closing and consolidating three community elementary schools. That coupled with a decline in student enrollment lead the county to announce earlier this year they would lay off some 70 employees, including dozens of teachers. 

Many of those teachers attended a job fair Friday to find opportunities in other West Virginia counties.

wikimedia / Wikimedia

A Boone County judge has scheduled a hearing later this month on a request by the Charleston Gazette-Mail to unseal court documents about prescription pill shipments in a lawsuit involving drug wholesalers.

The newspaper reports it asked Boone County Circuit Judge William Thompson to unseal the records from 11 drug-shipping companies, which are fighting to keep the records secret.

Elementary Classroom
Douglaspperkins / Wikimedia Commons

The schools superintendent in coal-focused Boone County suggests cutting about 77 positions due to falling tax revenue and declining enrollment.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Superintendent John Hudson said the school board will vote on the issue before March 1.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

West Virginia's highest court has rejected a bid by several drug firms to close the door on the state's lawsuit.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that the Supreme Court has denied the companies' request for a "writ for prohibition." The prescription drug wholesalers claimed a Boone County Circuit judge committed error when he blocked their attempts to dismiss the lawsuit.

Boone County
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The former executive director of the Boone County Ambulance Authority will be fined $5,000 and publicly reprimanded for ethics violations.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports reports that Ethics Commission members on Thursday approved a conciliation agreement after officials say Randall Lengyel illegally obtained a $103,000 no-interest loan from the authority in order to enhance his retirement benefits.

Coal Layoffs, unemployed
Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Alpha Natural Resources continues to scale back its coal-mining operations.

Workers were told Friday at mines in West Virginia and Virginia that they were being laid off. The total in both states is more than 160, with the majority occurring in West Virginia, according to media reports.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman announced Tuesday the appointment of a new chairman for the West Virginia Juvenile Justice Commission.

Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers of Putnam County will replace Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn of Mercer County.

Doddridge County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

West Virginia's natural gas counties are the winners and coalfield counties are the losers in the state's latest assessment of the value of properties owned by public utilities.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail  says a report presented to the Board of Public Works on Tuesday shows utility property values increased by 36 percent in Doddridge County in the past year. Ritchie and Tyler counties each saw a 16 percent increase, while property values in Taylor County rose by 9 percent.


Two Hatfield-McCoy Trail System trails in Boone and Lincoln counties are being closed because the trail land has been sold.

The system will lose 200 miles of ATV trails from the closure of the Little Coal River Trail in Boone County and the Ivy Branch Trail in Lincoln County.

Logs Logging
GeographBot / wikimedia commons

A Boone County logging company faces $42,000 in civil fines for safety violations at a worksite.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says Ross Logging of Seth exposed workers to safety hazards at the worksite in Elkview.

Wikimedia Commons

 A Circuit Court judge in Boone County has rejected a drug wholesalers' bid to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses drug companies of flooding West Virginia with pain pills.

In a ruling this week, Judge William Thompson ruled the case should proceed to trial, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Boone County's prosecuting attorney has told the county's ambulance authority director to pay back a $103,000 personal loan or face possible ethics charges.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Randy Lengyel used the money to enhance his retirement benefits.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear from the coal reporter at SNL Energy about job losses in the Kentucky and West Virginia coalfields.  Details about those number are on our website.  Also, Glynis Board reports that the state has the highest number of injury related deaths in the country.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Clean Water on the Way in Boone County

May 4, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, we begin a year long look at the state’s roads, bridges, water resources, broadband accessibility in a series called “Bridging the Gap: A Deeper Look into West Virginia’s Infrastructure.  Today, Ashton Marra reports from Boone County about a water project.  That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Three West Virginia law enforcement departments getting money to buy boxes for residents to safely get rid of unused prescriptions.

Federal mining officials are citing Patriot Coal for serious violations during a severe coal burst that killed two miners in May.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration issued three citations Tuesday for the Boone County mine accident.

Citations say Patriot didn't adequately protect miners from hazards, report a similar burst three days earlier or preserve evidence about the earlier burst.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Mitt Romney visits West Virginia, reporter Catherine Moore is in Boone County looking at how layoffs in the coal industry are changing the political landscape.  And football isn’t just about the Thundering Herd or the Mountaineers.  Clark Davis looks at the upcoming season at the state’s smaller universities.

Catherine V. Moore



This story was produced as part of What's Next, West Virginia?, a collaboration between West Virginia Public Broadcasting, West Virginia Center for Civic Life, and West Virginia Community Development Hub, among others.

Over the past two years, 1,800 coal miners in Boone County have been laid off from work—that’s a fifth of the county’s total labor force. And the crisis doesn’t show any signs of slowing. At the end of July, Alpha Natural Resources announced it expects to lay off 1,100 more workers at 11 mines in southern West Virginia.

The West Virginia Coal Festival, held every year at the end of June in the county seat of Madison, is a good place to gauge how the layoffs are affecting everyday life for Boone County families--not only the economy, but also the political landscape and discussions about the future.

What's Next for Boone County Coal Miners?

Aug 19, 2014
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, reporter Catherine Moore attended the coal festival in Boone County to ask residents there what’s next for them after layoffs in the coal industry.  And Liz McCormick reports from Jefferson County where libraries are rallying for community support.

For State Impact Pennsylvania's report about natural gas drilling in state forests click here. 

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Patriot Coal-owned Boone Co. mine where two men died Monday night had a historically bad record of safety violations and practiced a dangerous type of mining known as “retreat mining.”

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration handed down a Pattern of Violations designation to Brody No. 1 Mine in October 2013 after citing 253 serious violations during a review period. An MSHA audit of Brody Mining’s records found injuries of miners that the operator failed to report to the federal agency.

Officials from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration say two workers were trapped and killed in an accident at a West Virginia coal mine. 

The incident occurred at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 Mine in Wharton, Boone County.

Updated Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 1:21 p.m.

Patriot Coal says the miners were fatality injured while the mine was conducting retreat mining operations. This type of mining is considered one of the most dangerous.

It’s a method of leaving pillars to support the roof but since there is profitable coal left in those pillars, the operator pulls them causing an intentional collapse.

MSHA's website says last year, the mine produced nearly 1-million tons of coal.

Patriot also confirmed that Brody Mine is also considered the Black Stallion Mine where employees were given a 60 day notice of potential layoffs late last month.

Updated Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 9:25 a.m.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training (WVOMHS&T) confirms a fatal incident occurred last night at Patriot Coal's Brody No. 1 Mine in Boone County. Eric D. Legg, 48, of Twilight, West Virginia, and Gary P. Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville, West Virginia, died in the incident, which occurred at approximately 8:47 p.m.