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More than $900,000 in refunds from insurance companies are headed to 8,300 consumers in West Virginia. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the payments Thursday, crediting the Affordable Care Act. Burwell said the refunds in West Virginia will average $177 per family. The payments are being made under a provision of the act that requires insurers to make the refunds if they spend an excessive amount on red tape and bonuses for executives. Those entitled to a refund will get the money through a check in the mail or in a reduction in future premiums, among other ways.
West Virginia University rifle coach John Hammond is competing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in his native Scotland. Hammond is an Aberdeen native and will compete in shooting events in the games, which run until Aug. 3. Hammond competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He won two Gold medals, one Silver and a Bronze.
A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife. The Charleston Daily Mail reports Jason Vest of Princeton filed the lawsuit last week in Mercer County Circuit Court. It also names a parts manufacturer and a Princeton car dealership. The lawsuit says 26-year-old Keisha Vest's car failed to stop at an intersection and collided with a tractor-trailer in Mount Airy, North Carolina. The vehicle's airbags didn't deploy. Earlier this year, GM began recalling older small cars such as the Cobalt and Saturn Ion to fix faulty ignition switches. GM says the switches have caused more than 13 deaths, although lawmakers say the death toll is closer to 100.
A state Capitol police officer killed a copperhead snake on the Capitol grounds this week in Charleston. West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Lawrence Messina said Thursday the officer borrowed a shovel from construction workers on the north edge of the complex Wednesday to kill the snake in an area near where an employee had spotted a snake while walking to her car Tuesday. The officer had been patrolling the area for the snake, but he can't be sure if it's the same one. Officers are watching for more. The copperhead is venomous, but the snakes themselves aren't usually aggressive unless provoked.
A USDA loan has been closed with Boone Memeorial Hosptial to provide for construction of a new replacement hospital next to the current one in Madison. Construction is scheduled to begin in August. It's a $31.8 million loan that will be the largest direct loan ever made by USDA in West Virginia, but the USDA says in a news release it wants to help improve the quality of life in rural West Virginia. Quality health care can retain and attract jobs.
West Virginia gas prices are down about a nickel a gallon. The Triple A says gas prices nationwide are tumbling because of abundant refinery production. That has led to declining pump prices in the U.S. for 25 consecutive days. In West Virginia, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas now goes for $3.67. Last week's average was $3.72. Pump prices range from a low of $3.47 in Huntington to a high of $3.76 in Bridgeport. Gasbuddy.com says prices in Charleston are in the low $3.70s.
Kanawha County GOP lawmaker Suzette Raines calls allegations that she lives outside her district "disgusting and hurtful." Raines represents the 35th District and says she has never lived outside of it. She says she was staying in several different places this year because she was caring for her mother, who passed away in March. The Democratic Executive Committee has filed a legal request to remove Raines from the general election ballot. GOP State Party Chairman Conrad Lucas calls the legal action a desperate attempt by the Democrats in their quest to take back one of the three seats currently held by Republicans in the district.
Charleston's City Council is going to consider raising city fire protection and refuse fees. A proposal introduced this week would double the fire protection fee for residential and commercial property owners. Refuse fees would increase from 15 to 20 dollars a month for single family residential units. The exception would be households with an income of less than 20-thousand dollars a year. For them, the rate would increase from 5 to 7 dollars a month. The increases, proposed by Mayor Danny Jones, would take effect one year from now. Mayor Jones says the increases are needed to help the city pay for rising police and fire pension costs.
A Huntington man is behind bars for using social media to try and hook up with a 14 year old boy. 49 year old Paul Lyons is charged with soliciting a minor. The boy's parents called police when they saw the man's messages on their son's Facebook account.
A Mason County couple was arrested after the autopsy report on their 20 month old baby showed that he starved to death. The boy died in March of last year, and the lab report took that long to be finished. Court documents said the toddler died a long, agonizing death. His parents, Carla Ashton and Jimmie Edwards are accused of using WIC benefits to buy baby formula,then returning the baby food for cash, and using the cash to buy themselves drugs. The two were arraigned on Tuesday. Bail is set at half a million dollars for each of them.