Economy

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  Two businesses in Morgantown are accused of illegally selling a drug known as synthetic marijuana. Law enforcement leaders are working with United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, to investigate but so far no charges have been filed.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other sources, synthetic marijuana refers to herbs and plant materials that are sprayed with chemicals designed to mimic the effects of marijuana. It’s often marketed as incense and labeled “not for human consumption.” While not exclusively generated out of Asia, law officials indicate China may be a major source of production.

David Gutman of The Charleston Gazette reports that executives of soon-to-be-bankrupt Freedom Industries haven't abandoned the chemical industry. In fact, they've created a new company in Lexycon, LLC, which was founded in Florida in March and registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office about a month ago.

Tracy Toler

Editor's Note: Today we continue our series about keeping the state’s youngest citizens in West Virginia. We’ve previously looked at the reasons why some people feel compelled to leave, but today, we’re taking a more positive approach. There are many young West Virginians with ideas about what can be done to help people stay.

From 1990 to 2000, and then again from 2000 to 2010, West Virginia saw slight increases in population, according to U.S. Census figures. But there’s also some bad news when it comes to population stats.

Produnis / wikimedia Commons

  Appalachian Regional Healthcare says it has agreed on a tentative contract with a union representing more than 700 registered nurses.

Appalachian says in a news release that the two sides agreed on the proposed deal late Wednesday.

The health care system says the Southern United Nurses/National Nurses United rescinded a one-day strike that was set for Thursday at Appalachian's hospitals in Beckley and Hazard, Kentucky.

Wikimedia Commons

A report just released by American Lung Association, “State of the Air 2014,” shows air pollution in West Virginia’s metropolitan areas has generally improved but, there’s more ozone, or smog, in every county where it was measured.


Jocelyn and Matt Crawford

Editor's Note: Today we continue our series on how to keep young people in West Virginia. Yesterday, we looked at the struggle many people go through to find work in the state in their chosen fields. Today we examine the stereotypes young West Virginians who choose to stay in the state face from those on the outside.

How Can West Virginia Keep Its Young People Here?

Apr 29, 2014
Ben Adducchio / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Editor's Note: We begin a series of stories looking into the issue of how to keep young people in West Virginia. This came about as part of a special digital project undertaken at West Virginia Public Broadcasting over the past few months, WVNextIn6.

We asked you to tell us what’s next for West Virginia in six words or less. Several posts had the theme “Keep our Best and Brightest here.”

According to a recent report from the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, West Virginia is facing a difficult road ahead in keeping people in the state. The state’s expected to lose about 20 thousand people through the year 2030, and could lose a congressional seat because of it. It all leads to a question West Virginians have been asking for years: How do we keep young people here? We asked our younger listeners on Twitter and Facebook to talk to us about their thoughts.

Huntington Announces Small Business Initiative

Apr 28, 2014

The city of Huntington hopes to encourage more entrepreneurial spirit through a newly launched small business initiative. Officials gathered Monday morning to announce Huntington Be Small, Live Large.

Robert Smith owns Robert’s Running and Walking in downtown Huntington. He opened his shop eight years ago. Smith was on hand as the city announced the initiative to help entrepreneurs get their small businesses off the ground. The program was not in place for Smith when he opened his shop selling running shoes and equipment.

courtesy of Friends of the Cheat

Private citizens are stepping up to repair a Preston County road important to the whitewater industry there. The state doesn’t have the means to get to the Cheat Canyon access road, so Friends of the Cheat River are doing the work.

The road to the take-out for the Cheat Canyon and Big Sandy whitewater runs had deteriorated and outfitters in the area were considering cancelling trips because of the poor conditions.

Steve Kite

Land in West Virginia is prone to sliding. We see it throughout the state along many steep slopes: retaining walls, rock falls, and road slips, and more. One geologist from West Virginia University says there’s more we can do to help prevent these landslides.


AllVoices.com

Rulemakers are moving to make good on a 40-year-old promise to end black lung with the announcement of new coal dust regulations. Officials from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Department of Labor, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration announced new coal dust regulations.


fpiwv.com

Felman Production CEO Mordechai Korf says the idled Mason County manufacturer is one step closer to resuming operations.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 5171 approved modifications to their contract with the company last week.

Elk River Chemical spill
wikimedia / Wikimedia

When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by the January 9 spill at Freedom Industries, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

Two Harrison County residents have been fined for exceeding the state's trout possession limit following the discovery of more than 300 trout in their home.

The individual limit for possessing trout is 12.

The Division of Natural Resources says 70-year-old Michael Earl Fetty and 46-year-old Tammy K. Fetty of Wallace caught trout in Curtisville Lake and Huey Run Lake nearly daily. The trout were kept in a freezer in their home.

DNR officers discovered 321 trout in the home last month during an investigation.

A West Virginia homeland security official thinks responders for a Jan. 9 chemical spill into the water supply could receive $2 million in federal help.
 
Homeland security official Greg Myers says the estimate covers state and local agencies, and select nonprofits, like volunteer fire departments. He says the total could grow.
 

Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Division of Motor Vehicles Acting Commissioner Steve Dale announced Tuesday that many DMVs throughout the state may see less foot traffic as some West Virginians may now have the option to go to the web for vehicle services.

Dale says some customers can now renew their vehicle registration and request a duplicate registration card online. The  DMV’s online service portal is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Glynis Board / WVPublic

The annual W.Va. Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest took place last week in Wheeling.

Awards:

Top Pipe fitter apprentice: Morgan Morgan – Local 83, Wheeling

Prize: $750, oxygen acetylene torch, gauges and hoses

Top Welding apprentice: William “Kieth” Kidd – Local 83, Wheeling

Prize: $750, Lincoln welding machine, welding hood and gear

Top Plumbing apprentice: Kenneth Raulston Jr. – Local 152, Morgantown

Prize: $750, tubing cutters, plumbing tools and tool bag

Top H.V.A.C. apprentice: Roger Harris – Local 625, Charleston

A former hospital nurse has been awarded more than $1 million in a lawsuit that claimed she was fired for expressing concerns of possible violations.
 
A Kanawha County Circuit Court jury made the award Thursday after a nine-day trial to Susan Nutter, who worked at Thomas Hospital's psychiatric unit from August 2008 to November 2009.
 

Zero-waste events--that’s the goal of one start-up organization in Morgantown. Green Earth Event Services was founded by Morgantown resident Garth Lindley in 2011. The organization provides recycling and composting services and Lindley says that while there's a learning curve among public they interact with,  he's surprised by the overall enthusiasm he receives wherever the organization sets up.

Linda Wertheimer talks to Evan Osnos about his New Yorker piece in which he explores how the coal industry has become a political player in the state, and what that could mean for future regulation.

Americans United for Change

An organization working to lobby law makers to raise the minimum wage made a stop in Charleston today. The group called, Americans United for Change, is behind a tour across the country the in the "Give America a Raise” bus.

While in the state, they are joined by West Virginia Citizen Action Group, local faith and labor leaders, a small business owner, and low-wage workers.

WVU

West Virginia University hosted the state’s inaugural high school business plan competition. Sierra Cook, a Glen Dale resident and a senior from John Marshall High School took first prize: a $10,000 college scholarship to be used at any of nine WV schools.

Cook says her interest in the mushrooms was sparked when she learned about their health benefits. She believes the niche-market business idea to grow and sell shitake and miyake mushrooms has a lot of potential to take off.

Appalachian Studies Association

About 800 people are expected to attend a conference at Marshall University in Huntington Friday through Sunday for the 37th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference.

Marshall University Education Professor and conference organizer Linda Spatig says the theme is New Appalachia: Known Realities and Imagined Possibilities.

Associated Press

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a coal company fighting to reinstate a water pollution permit for a massive West Virginia strip mine.

The justices say they will not disturb a federal appeals court ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency acted within its authority in 2011 when it retroactively vetoed a permit issued four years earlier by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. and its Mingo Logan Coal Co. subsidiary challenged the appellate ruling concerning the mountaintop removal coal mine in West  Logan County.

Anita Wallace has run a day care in her home in rural Athens County, Ohio, for eight years. The schedule is more family-friendly than when she logged 60 hours a week as a manager at Wal-Mart, and the pay is about $27,000 a year — not bad for the area.

Wallace adores the children, getting down on the floor to let toddlers snuggle on her shoulder. But Wallace, 40, and her husband, 47, also have three of their own kids to raise.

"They're very expensive!" she says, laughing, as her own children — two still live at home — inform her of the new track uniforms they need.

FFA

"Future Farmers of America" was founded in 1928 with a mission to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. They teach that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting-- it's a science, it's a business and it's an art. There are about 5,000 members of the Future Farmers of America organization in the state of West Virginia, and almost 600,000 across the country. One of the organization’s leaders today is a young man from Point Pleasant.

Meet Wesley Davis. He goes by Wes. He’s 19 and this guy has a story.


history.com

The History Channel featured a new show this year that focused on ginseng in Appalachia. According to Neilson ratings, the show, called Appalachian Outlaws, was one of the most popular on cable channels, averaging over 2.7 million viewers per each of its six episodes. There’s no official word if season two is in the works, and while some fans are hoping that there will be a second season, other people are hoping the show will just go away.


Historic Jefferson County Village Making Improvements

Mar 12, 2014
Rebecca Glover / WV Public Radio

The village of Middleway, W.Va., appears to be a moment frozen in time.  The historic district of the village is home to buildings that date back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and was a battleground throughout the Civil War. 

Nowadays, the streets are quiet, the cars are few, and the numerous buildings that line the streets are dark and uninviting.  Moss and vines creep up the old War Hospital on Queen Street and residential properties are boarded up and left alone.

Greenbier
Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

The Greenbrier resort and its billionaire owner could receive up to $25 million in tax breaks over 10 years for a new medical institute.
 
Owner Jim Justice said the $86 million medical resort would offer doctors that care for professional athletes. It was first announced in 2011.
 

Bill Hughes

A bill to regulate the disposal of waste produced by gas-well drilling will likely be introduced by the governor in a special session.
 
Lawmakers who negotiated a version both sides could agree on were unable to get the measure passed before midnight Saturday, the deadline for the regular session.

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