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No Mine Layoffs After All

About 750 Alpha Natural Resources workers at West Virginia coal mines will keep their jobs, despite layoff warnings this summer. In a news release Monday, Alpha said operations will continue at eight mines in Logan, Mingo, Boone and Raleigh counties. In July, Alpha warned 1,100 West Virginia workers at 11 mines of anticipated layoffs because of weak domestic and international markets and federal regulations. Eight mines extended layoff notices in September. Two mines were idled, resulting in 193 layoffs. One mine kept operating without a layoff warning. Alpha officials credited Monday's announcement to cost-cutting measures and sales improvements in some areas. Officials also warned of a more volatile coal market.

Freedom Industries President Faces Federal Charges

Freedom Industries president, Gary Southern, is facing federal charges filed Monday, related to the chemical spill in January. Southern has been charged federally with bankruptcy fraud, making a false oath in a bankruptcy case and wire fraud in connection with the investigation and bankruptcy proceedings following the spill. WCHS TV reports the documents filed in federal court claim Southern made false statements under oath to attempt to protect personal assets that total more than $7.7 million.

Weekend Accident Kills Teen

A rollover accident Saturday night killed a 15-year old girl and another was hospitalized. Charleston Police say Nikole Josephine Booth died from injuries when she lost control of the SUV she was driving on I-64 near the Oakwood Bridge in Charleston. She was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected. A 16-year-old passenger was also in the vehicle, and was taken to CAMC with non-life threatening injuries. Police believe speed was a contributing factor in the crash.

No Decision Yet On Mountain State University's Sale

West Virginia University's board will take two more weeks to decide whether to retain exclusive rights to purchase Mountain State University's campus in Beckley. The board delayed its decision until Dec. 22 at a meeting Friday in Morgantown. The university says the board will continue its analysis of academic possibilities and economic factors associated with the deal. Mountain State closed after it lost its accreditations in 2012 and the University of Charleston took over Mountain State's campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg so students could complete their degrees.

Leaders Pick Ahead Of Next Legislative Session

Republican lawmakers have chosen a new West Virginia Senate president and House of Delegates speaker. The West Virginia Republican Party says Mercer County Sen. Bill Cole was named as Senate president and lieutenant governor during a caucus of GOP senators on Sunday. House Republicans named Kanawha County Delegate Tim Armstead as House speaker during their caucus.In January, Republicans will hold majorities in both the House and the Senate for the first time in eight decades following the November general election. Armstead previously served as House minority leader.

Five Killed In Crash Near Ripley

West Virginia State Police say five people were killed in a multiple-vehicle crash on Interstate 77 near Ripley over the weekend. The crash occurred when an SUV heading north - apparently toward Wheeling and the State football championship game - went out of control, sped through a cable median and into the southbound lanes. The SUV was broadsided by a southbound pickup truck and caught fire. Powers says all five victims were in the SUV. They are identified as: 46-year old Vivian Easton...15-year old Devon Easton Badger, 48-year old Walter Taylor, 14-year old Tahj Claiborne and 50-year old Wallace Worrell.

Package Thief Turns Herself In

More now on a story from earlier in the week...A Cross Lanes woman has been charged with stealing Christmas packages and a wreath in an incident that was captured on surveillance video. 63-year-old Deborah R. Davis was arraigned this week on attempted burglary and petit larceny charges after police said she took items from the front porch of a home in Cross Lanes on Sunday. The homeowner posted the surveillance video on his Facebook page on Tuesday. Kanawha County Sheriff's Office spokesman Cpl. Brian Humphreys says Davis came forward Wednesday and told police she was the person in the video. Davis is being held in the South Central Regional Jail.

Money Coming to Help School Cafeterias Serve Local Food

The West Virginia Department of Education will receive $100,000 to help effectively move food from local farms to school cafeterias. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm to School Program. The Department of Education's Office of Child Nutrition and the West Virginia Farm to School Community Development Group will develop a distribution network that enables farmers to provide schools with an outlet to buy local products at an affordable cost.

DMV Leader is Stepping Down

Acting West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Steve Dale is stepping down at the end of the year after 32 years working for the DMV in different capacities. He has served as acting commissioner since January 2013 and his retirement is effective Dec. 31. Dale tells The Charleston Gazette he plans to look for a job in the private sector. Last month, the DMV received a national award for beginning a program that allows people to renew vehicle registrations online. Customers also can search for license plate information, check the status of their driver's licenses and pay license reinstatement fees online.

Clay Center Has A New CEO

There's a new leader at the Clay Center. Al Najjar was picked as the new president and CEO Thursday. The Charleston Gazette reports Najjar is the former leader of the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa, Florida, and was attracted to the Clay Center for the way it appreciates how the sciences, performing arts, and visual arts are combined. His first day is March 1st.

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