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Eighteen West Virginia airports are getting more than $20 million in state and federal grants. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox announced the grants Wednesday. The West Virginia Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Commission allocated more than $2 million matching funds. The money is for infrastructure, safety and improvement projects. Yeager Airport received the biggest grant, more than $8 million in combined federal and state funding to remove obstructions.
Patriot Coal has reached a deal with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal to help fund future benefits for Patriot retirees. Patriot said in a press release that will clear the way for the company to finish out its financial reorganization by the end of the year. In a separate announcement, the Charleston Gazette reports United Mine Workers has reached "a global settlement" with Patriot and with Peabody that will provide more than $400 million to cover future health-care benefits for retirees affected by Patriot's bankruptcy. Under the deal with Knighthead Capital Management, Patriot will get $250 million in new capital for benefits.
The Kanawha County Library is offering free downloadable music starting on Monday. The free, legal music downloads will be available through Freegal Music Service, which has more more than 7 million songs from more than 28,000 music labels. You'll need a library card and PIN, and then you can download three songs per week for free, and the downloads don't expire.
Two inmates at a Kanawha County jail are facing new charges after being accused of sexually assaulting a third prisoner back in September. Lorrae Church of Akron, Ohio, and Mary Browning of Charleston have been charged with second-degree sexual assault for the alleged incident at South Central Regional Jail. Court documents said there was an argument before the attack, and afterward doctors at Thomas Memorial Hospital had to remove a piece of glass or Fiberglas from the victim. The two appeared in Kanawha County Magistrate Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin wants an investigation into the situation involving the FDA and pharmaceuticals. A Food and Drug Administration panel that comes up with policies regulating prescription painkillers, is accused of accepting thousands of dollars from pharmaceutical companies. Manchin said during a conference call this week he hopes this could lead to a reclassification for hydrocodone, which has been abused in West Virginia. The Washington Post reportt the FDA panel accepted as much as $25,000 from large pharmaceutical companies so the companies could attend and provide input at closed-door meetings.
Thousands of federal workers have been applying for unemployment benefits during the federal shutdown. Workforce West Virginia had asked furloughed workers to wait until this week so they had ample time to get their computer systems in order, but many workers didn't wait and filed early. Regardless, now is a good time to apply for unemployment benefits. Even though federal workers will get their jobs back after the shutdown, they're eligible for benefits in the interim.
Many West Virginia leaders have expressed concerns over mine safety during the government shutdown. On Tuesday night, Sen. Jay Rockefeller said he cannot help but express deep frustration about the shutdown that has furloughed MSHA inspectors and prevented them from conducting the regular inspections. The Charleston Gazette reports Manchin is pushing for a clean funding bill to get the government running and our mine safety inspectors back to work. UMW President Cecil Roberts has also expressed concerns over the lack or regular inspections.
The Raleigh County Board of Education has banned teachers from sending personal texts to students. This comes after two teachers were fired earlier this year for sending inappropriate texts to students. The Register-Herald reports that board members policy approved Tuesday. Schools Superintendent Jim Brown says the policy bans texting that's unrelated to school or extracurricular activities. Teachers and staff are encouraged to use a school-based system that allows them to send electronic messages to students and parents regarding snow days, homework assignments, classroom events and practices.
Kanawha County Commissioners met Tuesday night and talked about what to do when people go with delinquent taxes. There are millions of dollars in outstanding taxes right now, and commissioners said at the meeting they'll have to raise taxes if they don't get what's owed to the county. And they may sue the worst offenders.
The woman charged with a man's murder in Wayne County had a day in court Tuesday. 31-year old Erica Streets is charged with the murder of her ex-boyfriend and father of her children, Julius Davis. At the preliminary hearing Tuesday, a state trooper testified Davis had been abusive and she feared for her life. When Davis' body was found police said he had been shot in the head and buried in a shallow grave. 51-year old Daniel Kilpatrick of East Lynn has been charged with accessory after the fact for allegedly helping bury the body. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Streets' case is on its way to a grand jury.