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More now related to Monday's mine explosion....Employees at the Boone County mine where two men were killed during a severe coal burst were notified weeks earlier that they may lose their jobs due to mass layoffs. St. Louis-based Patriot Coal gave notice to 450 workers at its Wells mining complex near Wharton on April 23. Federal law requires companies to provide 60 days notice to employees if large layoffs are possible. The Wells mining complex includes Brody Mine No. 1, where miners Eric Legg and Gary Hensley died on Monday. They were doing something called retreat mining, which is risky, but standard practice. The roof is intentionally collapsed to retrieve more coal.
A vehicle that crossed the center lane caused and accident Wednesday morning on Route 61 near Turnpike Ford, between Charleston and Marmet. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says a Pontiac G6 was going south on Route 61 and a gray Jeep Wrangler was going north on Route 61. The two were involved in a head-on collision after the Pontiac crossed the center line. That driver was not wearing a seat belt, and was killed in the crash.
A man who was out with his boat last night in the Kawaha River called police when he noticed a body along the bank. The body was recovered near the old Huck Finn's restaurant and will go to the state Medical Examiner's Office to determine his name and cause of death, according to South Charleston Police. It's not known how long the body was in the river, but it was still fully clothed. South Charleston Police are leading the investigation, working with other agencies to see if there are missing person cases or other unsolved cases that this might help solve.
A hazardous material is gone from a local elementary school. Asbestos was taken out of a boiler room at Mary Ingles Elementary, and some parents are upset that the school didn't tell them and they found out about the removal from their children. WSAZ.com reports the environment is safe and the school has passed air tests. The boiler room where the asbestos was found is not attached to the school. Mold was removed from the walls and ceiling of classrooms in March. There are renovations coming this summer, including a new ceiling and roof, sprinkler systems and light fixtures.
West Virginia honored fallen law enforcement officers with a candlelight vigil Tuesday night at the State Capitol. Sarah Janey lost her uncle in 1989 when he was gunned down while trying to make an arrest. Janey says the vigil is a way to remember officers who are too often forgotten:
The West Virginia Law Enforcement Memorial was held inconjunction with National Police Week for the first time. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, more than 200 law enforcement officers from West Virginia have been killed in the line of duty.
Ryan White, an attorney, won one of the three Kanawha County school board seats up for grabs. White won the seat held by Bill Raglin who died last year. Incumbent Becky Jordan won another, and Incumbent Pete Thaw as well.
Freedom Industries was back in bankruptcy court Tuesday. Freedom has asked a judge for approval to pay $1.9 million for work completed by various lawyers and consultants. There's another court filing that proposes ways to reduce those costs. Freedom also wants to sell property and chemicals at its secondary site to a company tied to its former executives. Judge Ronald Pearson on Tuesday ordered the opportunity to buy the site must stay open until 1:00 p.m. Friday, for other companies to make a competitive bid. If no others bid, an auction could be set up.
The stage is set for a November contest for retiring democratic senator Jay Rockefeller's seat. GOP US Rep. Shelley Moore Capito won the primary on Tuesday, which sets up a contest with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who won the most votes on the democratic side. The nation is watching who wins Rockefeller's seat this fall because it could influence control in the Democratic U.S. Senate.
An advisory panel has recommended five candidates to fill a judicial position serving Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties. The Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission submitted its recommendations to replace 11th Judicial Circuit Judge Joseph C. Pomponio Jr. to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Kanawha County senior assistant prosecutor Fred Giggenbach is one of the candidates, according to the Register Herald.
Many high school seniors will be getting their diplomas this week. Two schools graduated last night, and all eight schools will have had graduation ceremonies by the time the week is over. St. Albans and Nitro High Schools passed out diplomas last night. There are no graduations scheduled tonight, but South Charleston High School will hold its graduation Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center. Sissonville High School will hold its graduation that night at 7 p.m. Charleston Municipal Auditorium. Capital High School’s graduation will be Thursday evening at the Civic Center, and Herbert Hoover High School’s ceremony will be at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium that night. Riverside High graduates Friday night at the Civic Center and George Washington High will hold their ceremony Friday at Municipal Auditorium.