Government

Thorney Lieberman / West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals


Candidates for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Division 2 have expressed remarkably different ideas about what the state’s high court should focus on. The winner, who will serve a full 12-year term, will replace the seat currently held by Justice Margaret Workman.

On this West Virginia Morning, we meet the Division 2 candidates running for the West Virginia Supreme Court. Plus, we answer some of your voting questions, and we bring you a report on reopening concerns in the Ohio Valley.

Updated at 11:44 a.m. ET

One week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism continued across the United States. Many cities imposed curfews, and President Trump again warned he would order active duty military forces to restore order if state and local governments, in his judgement, failed to do so.

Here are details of some protests around the country.

St. Louis

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 


The coronavirus pandemic has quickly become the biggest story of 2020, eclipsing the kind of news coverage we'd usually see in the run up to an presidential election. West Virginia will host its primary election next month, on June 9. 

For many of us, civics class was longer ago than we’d like to admit. And even if it wasn’t, there are plenty of changes this year due to COVID-19. (Here’s our primary voting guide if you have questions on how things have changed.) (And here’s our story about key races to watch.)

 

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore the traditional craft of basketmaking. We also meet the Division 1 candidates running for seats on the West Virginia Supreme Court.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals chamber is pictured in September 2019.
J. Alex Wilson / West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals


Editor's Note: Candidates for West Virginia Supreme Court Division 1 spoke to West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications at Shepherd University as part of a forum featuring candidates from each of the three divisions in this year’s election. 

The June 9 primary will decide three seats on the bench of the state’s highest court. Eleven candidates across three divisions are vying for the open seats on West Virginia’s Supreme Court of Appeals. 

Across the country, a national reckoning with race has sparked wide-ranging debates on defunding police, racial profiling, public monuments and systemic racism. This comes as protests continue nationwide, sparked by high-profile deaths of African Americans.

Updated at 12:29 p.m.

Police and demonstrators clashed in dozens of cities across the U.S. on Saturday during another night of protests in response to the death of George Floyd.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday additional phases of the state’s reopening plan that will be rolled out over the coming weeks. 

Pool halls, spas, limited video lottery, swimming pools, bowling alleys and other places of amusement will be able to open Saturday, May 30. On Monday, June 1, movie theatres and casinos will be allowed to reopen.

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore the unique connection between Wales and Appalachia. We also bring you a report on food insecurity in the Ohio Valley, and we listen to this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice says he has ordered coronavirus testing for all inmates and guards at state corrections facilities following an outbreak at Huttonsville Correctional Center. Justice and other state health officials say that spike in cases has had a significant impact on the state’s totals but won’t  alter the state’s plans to continue reopening businesses and other aspects of everyday life. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how the coronavirus pandemic has created new challenges for college graduates as they enter an uncertain job market. We also hear a report from Ohio County as some organizations there have come together to find creative ways to feed students in the area.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Before the coronavirus made its way to West Virginia and delayed the state’s primary, the upcoming election was already shaping up to be one of the most closely watched in recent years. 

With the election now moved to Tuesday, June 9, the spotlight has remained on some races, while each party has taken strong positions when it comes to absentee mail-in voting. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we take a closer look at West Virginia’s upcoming primary election and bring you reports on some key races this year. We also bring you a report on the potential financial hardships facing the Ohio Valley in the coming months.

Gov. Jim Justice gives an update to the public regarding West Virginia's continued response to the coronavirus on Thursday, May 21, 2020.
Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Updated Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 5:40 p.m.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says the National Guard is en route to the state’s Eastern Panhandle following a spike in coronavirus cases in that region. In a virtual news conference Thursday, Justice said Berkeley and Jefferson counties each saw an increase in positive cases Wednesday. 

On this West Virginia Morning, we check in with the state’s nursing homes coping with the coronavirus pandemic. We also hear an update on how restaurants across the Ohio Valley are approaching reopening measures.

Gov. Jim Justice and other state officials give an update to the public regarding West Virginia's continued response to the coronavirus on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.
Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Updated Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.

The head of West Virginia’s corrections system says more cases of the coronavirus have been found at Huttonsville Correctional Center in Randolph County.

Speaking at a virtual news briefing Wednesday, Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation commissioner Betsy Jividen said another staff member and another inmate at the Huttonsville Correctional Center have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Gov. Jim Justice and his general counsel, Brian Abraham, give an update to the public regarding West Virginia's continued response to the coronavirus on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice has announced the first positive case of the coronavirus in an inmate in the state’s jails and prisons. 

During a virtual news briefing held Tuesday, Justice said a 62-year-old male inmate at the Huttonsville Correctional Center in Randolph County tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear two stories of challenges and resilience in Appalachia. We also bring you a report from the Ohio Valley ReSource on coal company American Resources Corporation.

On this West Virginia Morning, we visit a cultural hotspot on Charleston’s West Side. We also bring you a conversation on the “what you need to know” for the upcoming Primary Election, and we hear a report on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 in jails and prisons in the Ohio Valley.

On this West Virginia Morning, 19-year-old banjo player Trevor Hammons never met his musical ancestors, but he’s determined to make sure their legacy lives on. We also hear a report about the upcoming primary election in West Virginia, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

 


 

West Virginia officials moved the state’s primary election from May 12 to June 9 out of safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, and have expanded options for mail-in voting.

 

Registered voters can vote in person during early voting or on Election Day at a polling location, or by absentee ballot.

 

The last day to register to vote in the primary is May 19. Early in-person voting begins May 27 and ends June 6. You can also vote in person on Election Day, June 9. 

On this West Virginia Morning, it can be hard to leave an abusive home. We hear from one reporter on how the coronavirus pandemic is making it even tougher. Also, in this episode, we speak with author Bonnie Proudfoot.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is warning of disastrous consequences if coronavirus cases spike as he sets up the most aggressive phase of his reopening plan around Memorial Day weekend.

On this West Virginia Morning, who let the dogs out? Some shelters are short on pets. But what happens when we’re once again allowed to leave our homes? We also bring you reports on coronavirus-related news.

Gov. Jim Justice gives an update on coronavirus response and alerts in a virtual briefing with media and citizens on March 24, 2020.
WV Governor's Office

West Virginia state officials say the state will proceed with its reopening plans, with the bulk of all retail stores set to open their doors beginning Thursday, May 21.

Nearly all retail businesses will reopen to the public including specialty big box retailers such as sporting and home good stores. Malls will remain closed, but anchor stores with external entrances can reopen. Indoor dining at restaurants can resume at 50 percent capacity.

Pilgrim's Pride in Moorefield, W.Va.
Justin Hayhurst / 100 Days in Appalachia

This is a developing story and may be udpated.

 

The West Virginia National Guard began conducting tests for COVID-19 this week at a poultry processing plant in Moorefield, Hardy County. According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the number of positive tests in the county have increased recently.

 


On this West Virginia Morning, we explore how some counties are preparing for the critical and time-intensive role of contact tracing. We also hear from healthcare workers trying to find ways to prevent future coronavirus outbreaks, and we hear how video conferencing apps may help capture family oral histories.

On this West Virginia Morning, the front porch is a traditional gathering place for Appalachian families, and in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, one reporter shares how those practices have become even more important. We also hear a report about the increased risk for coal miners due to COVID-19, and we bring you this week’s Mountain Stage Song of the Week.

Seven companies have been named in a lawsuit related to the contamination of a West Virginia city’s water supply from firefighting foam.

The lawsuit filed by Charles Town attorney Stephen Skinner seeks damages for exposing Martinsburg residents to chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAs. Among the defendants in the lawsuit filed last month in federal court were 3M Co., DuPont Co. and Chemours.

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