Breaking Local News

Medical Malpractice Bill Passes House

The WV House of Delegates passed legislation Tuesday that will expand medical malpractice liability caps to cover more health care agencies like nursing homes and pharmacies. Though the bill passed, some amendments were rejected that would have waived caps on non-economic damages like pain and suffering, in some malpractice suits in cases. The Senate also passed a version of the bill, and now the House version goes back to the Senate so the two versions can be reconciled.

Emergency Shelters Remain Open After Train Derailment

Between one and two thousand people are in the evacuation zone after Monday's train derailment near the Fayette-Kanawha County line, and they are staying in emergency shelters. Again, those spots are: the Fallsview Community Center, Valley High School, Armstrong Creek Community Center, and the Montgomer Fire Department. Those shelters will be open as long as they're needed.

Sheriff's Office Investigates Phone Scam

Another scam is being investigated by the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office. The caller in this scheme identifies himself as a detective with the Sheriff’s Tax Investigation Unit, and the sheriff's office says the calls are not legitimate. If you get a call like that, contact the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office at 304-357-0169 and if you can, make a note of the numbers on caller ID and any names given by the callers.

Committee Considers Adding Water Protections

Environmentalists want lawmakers to keep drinking water protections for rivers and streams across the state. And there were citizen groups that turned out Monday to ask members of the House Judiciary Committee to approve the state Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to extend those protections to the part of the Kanawha River that runs through downtown Charleston, according to the Charleston Gazette. There were several references to last year's chemical spill in the Elk River that contaminated drinking water supplies for 300-thousand. Many industry groups oppose adding drinking water protections The House Judiciary Committee may act on the DEP water quality bill this week.

Marshall and Purdue to Meet on a Sunday

Marshall University's historic football showdown with Purdue has been rescheduled to Sept. 6, a Sunday. Originally scheduled one day earlier, the game has been rescheduled by Conference USA for national television. Purdue's visit to Marshall will mark the first time the program has hosted a Big Ten foe. The Thundering Herd is coming off a 13-1 season.

State of Emergency Declared after Train Derailment

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued a State of Emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties after yesterday's train derailment in Fayette County. Once the weather clears the National Guard can enact some air procedures which can help get water and supplies to those affected. Power has been knocked off or shut off for thousands, and the need for water at Montgomery General Hospital has been critical. The DEP is asssessing how much oil spilled into the Kanawha River, and more will be known this week. West Virginia American Water has shut down the intake at Montgomery, to make sure the plant and it's water supply is not contaminated, according to WCHS TV.

Red Cross Gets New Leader

The American Red Cross has hired an executive director for its newly formed southeast West Virginia chapter. Stephanie Meadows will be responsible for day-to-day management, fundraising, and promotion for the Beckley-based chapter. The chapter covers 11 counties. Meadows is a Concord University graduate with 15 years of experience at nonprofit organizations. She began her career with the Red Cross in October 2011 as a development coordinator. She also has worked with fundraising for Habitat for Humanity, the Charleston Area Medical Center Foundation and the March of Dimes.

Plea Hearings Set for Former Freedom Executives

Plea hearings are set for next month for Freedom Industries and two former executives on charges stemming from a massive chemical spill in Charleston. U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston on Friday scheduled separate March 16 hearings for ex-Freedom owners Charles Herzing and William Tis. A March 23 hearing was scheduled for the company. In addition, plea hearings were set March 18 for Freedom environmental consultant Robert Reynolds and tank farm plant manager Michael Burdette. All are charged with federal Clean Water Act violations and are expected to plead guilty. Ex-Freedom owner Dennis Farrell and former President Gary Southern face trial this fall on charges related to the spill. Southern also faces charges related to Freedom's bankruptcy.

Health Officials Oppose Pipeline

The Board of Health in West Virginia's Monroe County is taking a stand against the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would run from northwestern West Virginia to southwest Virginia. In an open letter, the county's health officer says the proposed natural gas pipeline poses a "significant and substantial risk" to residents. Dr. J. Travis Hansbarger notes that the pipeline would pass close to a public school and a long-term care center. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that the letter cites as a primary concern the potential for groundwater contamination during the pipeline's construction. The pipeline still needs regulatory approval.

Roads Hazardous Over The Weekend, and More Winter Is On the Way

The weekend weather was a challenge to deal with for drivers in Kanawha County. The sheriff's office says between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, deputies responded to 45 accidents without injuries and 24 with injuries, just in Kanawha County alone. Temperatures today are still expected to be below freezing with precipitation likely.

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