Jefferson County

Del. Sammi Brown, D-Jefferson, speaks on the House floor during the 2019 regular West Virginia Legislative session.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Rockwool has become a household name in the Eastern Panhandle, and it sparks a flurry of discussion and debate.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

After almost 15 years doing without, revenue dollars are flowing back into West Virginia’s horse and dog racing industries. The legislature came through on a promise made more than a decade ago, and men and women within the racing industry are excited at the possibility of a boom in business. As part of our occasional series, “Effective from Passage,” we explore the potential effects of Senate Bill 13 (SB 13), which went into effect last week.

Anti-Rockwool posters lean against a bridge connecting Old Route 9 in Jefferson County to the Rockwool construction site beyond. North Jefferson Elementary School is half a mile down the road. Photo taken May 16, 2019.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than 200 protesters rallied at the construction site of the Rockwool plant in Ranson, Jefferson County.

A boy protests the Rockwool company with his family on Aug. 2, 2018 in Charles Town, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This summer will mark one year since thousands of residents in Jefferson County, West Virginia started a movement to rally against a Denmark-based company called Rockwool. The company’s proposed West Virginia plant would manufacture stone wool insulation across the street from an elementary school. The issue has sparked contention throughout the region. The voices from those against Rockwool have grown louder, but so too have those who do want Rockwool in West Virginia.

Clinical Associate Professor Michael McCawley of the West Virginia University School of Public Health moderated the symposium on air pollution at the Clarion Inn in Harpers Ferry. Photo taken Sat., Apr. 27, 2019.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members from Jefferson County, West Virginia and nearby areas came together last weekend to hear from scientific experts from around the country about air pollution and its impacts. The event’s aim was to speak “plainly” about the issue, specifically as it pertains to Rockwool – a stone wool manufacturing company setting up shop in Jefferson County.

The MARC train's Brunswick Line parked at the Martinsburg Train Station. Photo taken in Apr. 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The MARC Train, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter, serves about 250 West Virginians who live in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.

The train has been serving the area for more than 30 years, but Maryland has always paid the bills. West Virginia was only responsible for upkeep of its three West Virginia stations.

February 7, 1732: General Charles Lee Born in England

Feb 7, 2019
After being captured in 1776, Lee supplied the British with plans to defeat the Americans.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

General Charles Lee was born in England on February 7, 1732. As a young man, he served with distinction in the British army before immigrating to America in the early 1770s. When the Revolutionary War began, he sided with the Americans and served as a major general in the Continental Army.

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

A plaque honoring Confederate soldiers has been removed from a West Virginia courthouse.

The Journal reports the Jefferson County Commission voted 3-2 last week to remove the plaque and it has been taken down.

Lodge in Cacapon Resort State Park, Morgan County, W.Va., May 2008
Brian M. Powell / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Jim Justice’s office made two announcements Friday all related to infrastructure in the Eastern Panhandle.

Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, W.Va. played a pivitol role during the American Civil War.
Mark Frickett / Wikimedia Commons

Undergraduate students from any college or university in the United States can spend a semester immersing themselves in the study of the American Civil War here in West Virginia beginning next year.

Dozens of locals came out to rally before the W.Va. Public Service Commission's public hearing on the Mountaineer Gas Pipeline expansion into the Eastern Panhandle. October 24, 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Public Service Commission traveled to Shepherdstown this week for a public hearing to address concerns about a pipeline expansion project in the Eastern Panhandle. About a hundred people showed up to rally before the event. Dozens went on to speak during the hearing – and many took the opportunity to mention the controversial Rockwool manufacturing company.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Developers of a coal and gas-fired manufacturing plant that's under construction in West Virginia have been cited by state regulators for violating environmental regulations.

Protesters in downtown Charles Town, W.Va. on Aug. 2, 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that he fully supports the Rockwool development project in Jefferson County, despite the level of pushback to the project from local residents.

Hundreds of Jefferson County residents and locals from nearby counties rallied outside the Jefferson County Community Center on Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 to protest the Rockwool company.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The European-based insulation manufacturing company Rockwool held a handful of community open houses last week at the Jefferson County Community Center. The aim was to better-connect with residents, many of whom don’t want the company to locate in the Eastern Panhandle. Rockwool’s final open house drew a crowd of hundreds who rallied outside to protest the plant.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s been contention in recent weeks in Jefferson County between thousands of residents and a new manufacturing plant being built called Rockwool. In response to the pushback, the Denmark-based company has scheduled community open houses through Saturday to engage with community members.

hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com

Hollywood Casino in Charles Town is the first casino licensed to offer sports betting in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Lottery Commission made the announcement Monday. Commission legal counsel Danielle Boyd told The Charleston Gazette-Mail the casino expects to start accepting bets Sept. 1, after installing software and training employees.

Hundreds gathered in Charles Town Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 to protest a new manufacturing plant being built in nearby Ranson. The plant will manufacture stone wool insulation a few miles from public schools and neighborhoods.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 at 8:10 a.m. with additional interviews, plus reactions from local residents and the Jefferson County Commission, and FAQs from the W.Va. DEP.

Thoroughbred horses participating in a race at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, W.Va.
Courtesy Photo / Coady Photography

The dog and horse racing industries have played a major role in West Virginia’s economy since the mid-1930s. But in recent years, lawmakers at the statehouse have debated whether these industries fit into the state’s economic future. Those who support the racing industry are fighting to see it survive, while others say it doesn’t bring in revenue like it once did.

Achim Hering / Wikimedia Commons

A stone wool insulation producer has broken ground on a $150 million manufacturing facility in West Virginia.

Rockwool North America held a ceremony Tuesday in Ranson. The company says in a news release the 460,000-square-foot facility will employ about 150 people. Production is expected to start in early 2020.

The Happy Retreat mansion in Charles Town, W.Va. Formerly the home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and brother to President George Washington.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Happy Retreat is a historic mansion in Charles Town that was once the home of Charles Washington – founder of Charles Town and brother to the nation’s first president. Today, the house is becoming a hub for public events, community outreach, history and tourism.

The Opequon Creek that borders Berkeley and Jefferson Counties has completely flooded a bridge in Martinsburg near Grapevine Road. Photo taken on May 17, 2018 at 7:22 p.m.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

Final Update on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 3:17 p.m.

 

After several days of continuous rainfall, the Eastern Panhandle is no longer under a flood warning or flood watch by the National Weather Service.


Fourth-graders at North Jefferson Elementary School in Kearneysville, Jefferson County prep dirt for planting in one of their three raised garden beds.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members are rallying around a school in the Eastern Panhandle. They want to build an outdoor classroom so that kids can get into nature more readily. The goal is to improve academic achievement and provide more opportunities - especially for kids from low-income areas.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about a growing educational trend to get young students outside more often; how an elementary school in the Eastern Panhandle aims to provide more opportunities to its students with an outdoor classroom. Also, we hear a panel discussion from Wheeling on race and living as a minority in the historically white state of West Virginia.

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, speaking during a Senate floor session.
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography


State lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle met Tuesday for the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce's annual Legislative Wrap-Up Breakfast in Martinsburg, where education and the teacher pay raise took center stage.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hundreds of West Virginians travel from the Eastern Panhandle to Maryland or Washington D.C. every weekday for work. These commuters catch the Maryland-based MARC train, or Maryland Area Regional Commuter.

But during this year’s West Virginia Legislative session, lawmakers debated the future of the MARC train in the state.

Maryland threatened to discontinue MARC service to West Virginia unless certain provisions were met.

Aneesh Sompalli (center) speaking at a Gereration West Virginia event in Shepherdstown.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Generation West Virginia’s local Eastern Panhandle chapter hosted a panel discussion at Shepherd University Thursday night with four young locals who decided to stay in West Virginia to build their careers.

Gas, natural gas, pipeline, energy, valve
Dollar Photo Club

Regulators have approved a construction stormwater discharge permit for Mountaineer Gas Co.'s proposed natural gas distribution line expansion in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

The Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release Wednesday the permit gives the DEP wide-ranging inspection and enforcement authority for the project.

Monte Cater (left) is retiring as head football coach in spring 2018. Ernie McCook (right) has been named to replace him.
Shepherd University

Monte Cater is retiring as Shepherd University’s head football coach after 31 seasons. Shepherd became an NCAA Division II school in the mid-90s, not long after Cater began his career at the school in 1987.

Unemployment Line
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

An annual Eastern Panhandle Economic Outlook conference was held in Martinsburg, showing job growth is steady in the Eastern Panhandle and is expected to grow in the coming years.

Storer College, Stephen Mather Training Center, Harpers Ferry
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This year marks 150 years since Storer College was established in Harpers Ferry. The school came out of the Civil War first as a place to teach former slaves how to read and write, and then by the 1930s, it had evolved into a four-year, higher education institution for African-Americans. But in 1955, it closed due to lack of funding. Still, the legacy of Storer College continues to be celebrated each year in the Eastern Panhandle.

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