McDowell County

Hotchkiss's mapmaking skills played a major role in “Stonewall” Jackson’s brilliant Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / Jedediah Hotchkiss, mapmaking, Stonewall Jackson, Civil War

Cecelia Mason / Shepherd University

Every October, author and West Virginia native, Homer Hickam, makes a trip home to West Virginia for the annual Rocket Boys festival in Beckley…but he also makes a point to stop in on his hometown of Coalwood in McDowell County during his visit. 

A southern West Virginia man faces charges of impersonating a state fire marshal investigator.

The West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office says the charges are an offshoot of an ongoing investigation of fires in McDowell County.

Jeffrey L. Moorehead II is accused of presenting himself as an investigator for the fire marshal both online and in person.

Fire marshal investigators arrested the 34-year-old Anawalt resident on Wednesday. He's charged with two counts of impersonation of a law enforcement officer or official.

Moorehead remains free on a $500 bond.

West Virginia University

BRADSHAW, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia University marching band will take a side trip to McDowell County on its way to this weekend's start of the college football season in Atlanta.
 
     WVU says the Pride of West Virginia will perform at Riverview High School prior to the start of Thursday night's game between Riverview and Mount View.
 
     The high schools rescheduled their season opener from Friday night to accommodate the band's pregame performance.
 

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

The Bluefield Coal Symposium brings together government and industry leaders to discuss challenges, West Virginia parallels Kentucky in coal jobs and politics in regards to the widely talked about "war on coal", and McDowell residents get closer to having safe water.

Daniel Walker

Residents in several McDowell County communities are one step closer to safe, public water. The Elkhorn Regional Water Project will replace two water systems that date back about 70 or 80 years. 


Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

A federal investigation has found employees at a McDowell County federal prison were allegedly exposed to blood-borne pathogens and other safety hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's January investigation into the Welch prison found 10 serious violations. This was OSHA's first inspection of the facility.

OSHA says the prison failed to train employees on pathogen issues and didn't ensure trainers were knowledgeable. Employees didn't use puncture-resistant containers for contaminated sharp objects.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia corporate attorney, a McDowell County teacher and a high school student traveled across the country to share the good they see coming from the Reconnecting McDowell project.

The three traveled to Los Angeles to speak at the American Federation of Teachers convention about the program they say has changed lives and given the community a new sense of optimism.

Construction of a new $12 million elementary school in McDowell County is expected to begin after crews stabilize a riverbank that partially collapsed earlier this year.

Superintendent Nelson Spencer tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that demolition of the old Iaeger Elementary School has been completed. He says large rocks from the construction area are being used to help stabilize the bank.
 

Division of Corrections

The Division of Corrections has told the McDowell County Commission to address deficiencies at the Stevens Correctional Center or risk losing its contract to house state inmates at the facility.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein sent a letter to the commission regarding the deficiencies earlier this month. The issues include staff members not following Division of Corrections directives.

Rubenstein's letter says the county owes the division liquidated damages under the contract.

Delegate Clif Moore
West Virginia Legislature

  Eight McDowell County employees have been laid off as the county struggles to plug a budget hole.

The layoffs include Delegate Clif Moore, who is an assistant county administrator.

Moore tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that seven employees were laid off Friday. His layoff is effect June 13 so he can continue working with county administrator Jennifer Wimmer to balance the budget.

McDowell County Sheriff's Office says a 31-year-old bicyclist has been charged with operating a meth lab that deputies say was contained in his backpack.

West Virginia Legislature

A McDowell County lawmaker has been charged with driving under the influence.

State police arrested Delegate Clif Moore during a traffic stop early Saturday morning on U.S. 52 on Elkhorn Mountain.

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

On this West Virginia Morning, state legislative officials are working against the clock and snow to get more bills passed.

We explore the water problems in McDowell County more deeply,

And students don't need classroom settings to learn.

A NASA Launch, Water Woes in McDowell Co., & More

Mar 3, 2014
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a special NASA launch has a West Virginia connection.

Also, water woes continue in West Virginia, but not where you might think.

And a Pennsylvania story about a fracking law that's causing controversy.

Jessica Lilly

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin lifted the state of emergency for nine counties on Friday. It’s been about seven weeks since 300,000 customers lost access to clean water after a chemical leaked into the Elk; a river upstream from the intake to West Virginia American Water’s treatment plant.

Jessica Lilly

The legislative session last year is often referred to as the "year of education reform" as lawmakers looked for ways to improve education quality.

West Virginia is ranked 48th in teacher pay and right around the middle of the road compared to other states for cost of living. Educators say there is a connection to quality.

Although West Virginia teachers get a 1.5 percent pay increase each year until they reach 35 years, teacher salaries are among the lowest paid in the nation.

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

On this West Virginia Morning, a West Virginia University professor is keeping the memory alive of some poets who honored African American civil rights.

Also, an update on the gas well explosion in Pennsylvania, just north of the West Virginia border.

Those stories and more!

Seth Ilys / en.wikipedia*

State regulators say snowmelt has sent wastewater at a former coal impoundment site spilling over sediment control ponds and into a McDowell County creek.

Department of Environmental Protection mining and reclamation acting director Harold Ward said Wednesday the spill occurred in Gary at a site formerly owned by U.S. Steel Mining.

DEP spokesman Tom Aluise says the amount that spilled wasn't immediately known.

The trial of a Virginia man charged with killing the mayor of War is underway in McDowell County Circuit Court.

The defendant is 28-year-old Earl Click of Grundy, Va.

Click is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 72-year-old War Mayor Thomas Hatcher.

 
City workers found Hatcher's body in his home on July 17, 2012.

 
Click's sister and co-defendant, 32-year-old Rebecca Hatcher, was acquitted of a murder charge in November. Judge Rudolph J. Murensky II declared a mistrial on a conspiracy charge. A retrial is scheduled next month.

Glen McCoy

KIMBALL, W.Va. (AP) — Hazardous material crews are cleaning up following a trail derailment.

Officials say at least 16 cars of the Norfolk Southern train derailed around 8:30 a.m. Friday in an area of McDowell County along U.S. Route 52. No evacuations were ordered and there were no injuries.

The train has five locomotives and 111 cars and is about 7,000 feet long. It was headed from Bellevue, Ohio to Linwood, N.C.

State emergency officials say booms are in place to prevent the tar leaking from a ruptured tanker car from going any farther down into Elkhorn Creek.

A train derailed in McDowell County this morning. At least seventeen cars were involved, including two tankers cars. One of them is in Elkhorn Creek.

Facebook.com

A public transit service in southern West Virginia has a new location. An official opening ceremony is planned for Friday morning.

The vehicles of the Bluefield Area Transit, or “B.A.T.” buses, now have a new ‘cave’ to call home… of a sort.

The construction of the administrative and maintenance facilities for BAT is now complete. The public transit program serves Mercer and McDowell counties with routes into Bluefield, Princeton, Athens and Welch.

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.

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.

McDowell County ranks the lowest in the country for life expectancy for men and women, Concord University students remember loved ones taken by cancer, plumbing and pipe fitting trades grow because of the natural gas boom, and Martinsburg High School makes history by bringing home their fourth state football title in as many years.

Suzanne Higgins / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

New housing is in the works for McDowell County, thanks to Reconnecting McDowell, a group working on improving schools, growing the economy and addressing the needs of local families.

The 2-year old public-private partnership has just hired an architecture firm to design housing in Welch.

The lack of housing has for years been cited as a major reason why recruiting teachers is an ongoing problem for the McDowell school system.

In 1960, then-Senator and Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy visited McDowell County, West Virginia and forged a bond with those living in the state's southern coalfields. It was a victory in West Virginia's Democratic primary that helped confirm his broad appeal to the rest of America. After winning the presidential election, Kennedy exposed the rest of the country to the perils of poverty that faced the region. In this article, USA Today reports on the way Kennedy's assassination has resonated with those living in southern West Virginia, the way things were then, and how they are now.

A mine in McDowell County is among several operations cited during impact inspections for safety violations last month. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration announced the results Thursday.  

An impact inspection conducted at a JJ & E Coal Corporation’s mine in McDowell County resulted in: eight unwarrantable failure orders, one task training order, one imminent danger order and 36 citations.

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