Health & Science

U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration logo

A federal commission found that a mine operator’s failure to notify MSHA and mine rescue teams immediately after an explosion in 2006 was inexcusable. . Twelve miners were killed as a result of the infamous blast also known as the Sago Disaster.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday  that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission overturned a decision by an Administrative Law Judge.  

Jessica Lilly

Residents are pitching in across the state to help out their fellow West Virginians. Churches, schools and even businesses have been collecting items for several days and sending to areas affected by the ban.

As the ban to use water is slowly lifted, several places in Wyoming County are still collecting items like baby wipes, diapers, formula, and of course … water.

"Go without water for a few days and you’ll just how much you miss that water," Charlene Cook said.

U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration
U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration logo

The federal mine safety agency says it has finished implementing the 100 regulatory and administrative changes it recommended after West Virginia's Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

The changes stem from a March 2012 internal report examining the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration's actions leading up to April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners. The agency says all recommendations in the report were implemented by Dec. 31.

C.W Sigman

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board says it will investigate a chemical spill in the Elk River that has contaminated the public water supply in nine counties.
 
     Board chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said Saturday that the board wants to find out how a leak of such magnitude occurred, and how to prevent similar incidents in the future.
 

Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Poison Control Center has received nearly 800 calls from concerned residents since a chemical spilled in the Elk River.
 

As Gov. Tomblin's state of emergency remains in effect, the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management is ask asking residents of the nine affected counties to contact their local emergency management offices for information on available and safe water resources.

gavel
wikimedia / Wikimedia

At least half a dozen lawsuits have been filed over a chemical spill in West Virginia that contaminated water supplies.

Major questions remain in the chemical spill from Freedom Industries, Inc. in the contamination of West Virginia American Water supplies across nine counties. West Virginia Public Broadcasting news director Beth Vorhees interviews Mark Glass from Downstream Strategies, Ashton Marra reports on the recent press conference at West Virginia American Water, and Dave Mistich gives a run down of activity on social media.

Stream the audio above to find out the latest from our Charleston news bureau and be sure to follow @wvpublicnews.

West Virginia National Guard

As the National Guard joins Governor Tomblin as well as various county, state, and federal authorities in helping those affected by the state of emergency due a chemical leak and water advisory, we here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting will do our best to keep you informed on water distribution centers and filling stations as they become available.  Below is the most up-to-date list of these centers we have.

WVU

Charleston native and West Virginia University graduate student Scott Cushing is in pursuit of one of the holy grails of energy sourcing: instead of using gasoline, or other fossil fuels with harmful emissions, he aims to use water and the sun to harvest hydrogen gas.

football helmet
wikimedia / mdscottis

The state Board of Education has given final approval to a rule dealing with how high schools handle sports concussions.

The board approved the rule during its monthly meeting this week in Charleston.

“This is a significant step in how we protect all of our athletes from the short- and long-term impact of concussions,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin.

“Now a certified medical professional must clear student athletes before they can get back into practice or play.”

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A waste pit in Fayette County does not meet the minimum pit and impoundment standards. The pit is filled with fracking water and other waste from oil and gas drilling. The state Department of Environmental Protection asked Danny Webb Construction to come up with an acceptable plan for the pit.

Community members have been concerned about the waste site for years.

The pit is used to remove sediments from waste before being injected into the nearby underground injection well in Lochgelly. The permit for the well expired in October 2012 and remains in the renewal process.

A Mercer County man who falsified mandatory mine safety reports while employed at several West Virginia mining operations was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison.

Craig Belcher, 37, of Bluefield, W.Va., pleaded guilty in July to providing a false statement, representation and certification in a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) document. 

Belcher’s sentence was handed down Monday by Senior United States District Court Judge David A. Faber in Bluefield.

AllVoices.com

Forty-two miners died in the U.S. in work-related accidents in 2013 according to preliminary data.

That’s up from the 36 miners who died in 2012.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration pointed out that fatalities occurred at a record low for the first three quarters of 2013. During the fourth quarter, six coal miners and nine metal/nonmetal miners died in mining accidents, a significant increase from the same period in 2012.

West Virginia lost six coal miners last year, the most in the country. Kentucky had the most metal/nonmetal mining deaths, with four.

Wikimedia Commons

From the W.Va. Dept. of Military Affairs and Public Safety:

Temperatures are forecasted to plunge well below zero degrees Fahrenheit throughout the state over the next 24 hours, and West Virginians are urged to take precautions. The severe cold and dangerous wind chills bring the threat of hypothermia and frostbite from prolonged exposure. Unsafe efforts to stay warm, meanwhile, can lead to fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Experts advise the following:
 

AP

West Virginia ranks second only to New York as the state getting the best deal from Obamacare, according to a new report from the company Evolution Finance.

The report looks at what all 50 states received through the Affordable Care Act. It uses 11 metrics designed to gauge the law’s impact on consumers and each state’s budget.

Rick Haye, Marshall University Communications

West Virginia officials have launched a new online system to help improve reporting by local health departments.

Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast suggests saucy pastas over meat: "They tend to hold up better to the chilling and reheating process."

United Miner Workers of America

This New Year’s Eve marks the 44th anniversary of the murder of Union presidential candidate Joseph “Jock” Yablonski.

Earlier this month the trigger-man in the 1969 murder, Paul Gilly, petitioned the court asking to be released from prison.  But the union believes Gilly should stay behind bars.

Dark time in United Mine Workers of America history

Jock Yablonski, his wife and daughter were murdered December 31, 1969. It was just over a year after the Farmington Disaster, where an explosion killed 78 men, underground.

A petition being passed around West Virginia through the Change.org web site is pushing legislators to change Raw Milk laws in the state. “Consumers should have the right to eat and drink foods they believe will benefit them,” the petition reads. Not everyone agrees.

Farmer Says Sweet

Tinia Creamer is a young farmer in the Huntington area who is outspoken about the issue of milk.

Rick Haye, Marshall University Communications

A report by two health advocacy groups says West Virginia is lagging in its approach to handling infectious disease threats.

     The report released Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says West Virginia met four of 10 indicators of preparedness.

Facebook.com

Often referred to as, ‘the greatest job in the world’, taking care of a child with special needs can be challenging for parent. Parents of children in Mercer County have formed their own support group. 

Living in rural areas often means living significant distances from medical specialists, and sometimes treatment. For example the best form of treatment for Autism is applied behavioral analysis. While there are limited specialists across the state, there is not a single specialist south of Charleston in West Virginia.

Concord Students Remember Cancer Victims

Dec 9, 2013
Brian Allen

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in West Virginia and the United States according to the latest data from the Department of Health and Human Resources.

Concord University students wanted to remember their lost loved ones this year with a ceremony.

Students gathered in front of the Carillon bells at the Athens campus.

Organizer Corey Booth wanted to host an event during lung cancer awareness month, which is November, in honor of his father’s current fight.

The life expectancy for American females is 81 years.

In West Virginia, Marshall County has the longest life expectancy for women, with 80 years, while those in McDowell deal with about 6 years shorter life span.

The life expectancy for American males is about 76 years.

Kentuckians get ready to SOAR.

A new book by photographer Builder Levy documents change in the coalfields.

A Tucker County W.Va. clock repairman marks his 90th birthday.

And the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame loses a member.

Folks in fracking country Pennsylvania work on air pollution issues.

Kentucky college students are having a blast- with some mine research.

America’s Test Kitchen has an Appalachian connection.

And we learn about the famed Fairfax Stone.

W.Va. Hunting Season Sparks Family Competition

Nov 27, 2013

Anna and Chuck Baker are just returning from their farm to check in a deer. It was Anna who bagged the did a little nine point buck.  

Listen to Anna share the story of how she killed her buck. 

 

 

A mine in Lincoln County has been put on notice of a pattern of violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today that Coal River Mining LLC’s Fork Creek No. 1 Mine is a pattern violator.

A POV notice, one of the agency’s toughest enforcement actions, is reserved for the mines that pose the greatest risk to the safety of miners.

An MSHA audit revealed that the mine operator failed to report miner injuries equivalent to 239 days of lost time during the review period.

Lance McDaniel

This is the first semester Concord University has offered a Master of Social Work.

It's one of four programs Concord has developed since becoming a University in 2004.

  • Master of Education (five content specializations)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Arts in Health Promotion
  • Master of Social Work

The programs have the potential to help improve overall public health in the area.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The forum started with opening remarks from State Sen. John Unger (D-Berkeley) and Del. Tiffany Lawrence (D-Jefferson). Participants then watched part of the PBS film Poor Kids and a short preview of a film about child poverty in the state being produced by West Virginia PBS.

They then met in smaller groups to talk about how poverty affects children academically and socially, stereotypes associated with being poor, what resources are available in the community and what can be done to prevent families from becoming poor.

Pages