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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.
United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts shined the spotlight on the recent string of coal-mining deaths during the government shutdown, and said in a prepared statement there are fewer mine inspectors on the job with the shutdown, and those working are either keeping an eye on operators and mines with a history of mine safety and health problems, or responding to special situations. There aren't any regular inspections happening. The three deaths in recent days happened in West Virginia, Illinois, and Wyoming. The UMWA is urging miners to look out for one another.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office had been looking for the white man seen in surveillance video with a murder suspect, and now they say with the help of anonymous tips, that man has been identified. Kelsey Legg has been arrested in connection with the disappearance and murder of Kareen Hunter, and was seen a day later at the Lowe’s home improvement store in Kanawha City buying carpet and paint. Detectives have interviewed the man seen with her, and are investigating his level of involvement. He is not believed to have been involved in the murder of Kareem Hunter, but is known to have done remodeling work at Kelsey Legg’s apartment after the crime occurred. His name won't be released right now.
Early Tuesday morning a sheriff's deputy went to check on reports of a man and woman walking on Dry Ridge Road in St. Albans, trying to stop passing cars. The Deputy found 28-year old Joey Eads of St. Albans and recognized him from numerous previous encounters, according to the sheriff's office, and knew of outstanding warrants. He was arrested and sent to jail on charges including Operating or Attempting to Operate a Clandestine Laboratory, Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, Purchasing Precursor Ingredients to Make Methamphetamine and Fleeing from Police in a Vehicle. The woman with him was taken home.
A new report said West Virginia leads the nation in the rate of fatal drug overdoses, and the rate is six times higher than it was about a decade ago. The report released Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health says 28.9 per 100,000 people died of fatal overdoses in 2010. The majority of those involved prescription drugs. That's 605 percent higher than 1999, and the growth is outpacing the rest of the nation. But the report also noted West Virginia is tackling the problem, with eight of a possible 10 indicators of promising strategies to curb prescription drug abuse.