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Phil Kabler

Staff writer
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Employees, retirees speak out about proposed insurance cuts


State employees and retirees vented their displeasure with the Public Employees Insurance Agency’s proposal to cut their health insurance benefits by a total of $40 million during a public hea...

Lawmakers OK panel for constitutional amendment


Legislative leaders voted Wednesday to spend the next two months studying enabling legislation that will need to be passed next session to implement a constitutional amendment that would allow the Boy Scouts of America t...

Audit: Hatfield-McCoy agency acting illegally


Since its inception in 1996, the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority — which operates the popular ATV trails in seven Southern West Virginia counties — has functioned as a nonprofit corporation tha...

Commission talks relaxing casino staffing rules


Lottery Commissioners Tuesday discussed giving a break to the state’s hard-hit casinos by relaxing personnel requirements for one popular table game.

Under state Lottery regulations, each craps table must be...

Ad cuts hurting business, rafting outfitters say


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Whitewater rafting in Southern West Virginia has been in a free-fall in recent years, dropping from more than 225,000 rafters on the New and Gauley rivers in 2000 to fewer than 100,000 this yea...

State jail jobs still going unfilled, lawmakers told


The state Division of Corrections continues to have troubles filling jobs, with the Mount Olive and Huttonsville correctional centers presenting the biggest problems, Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein told legislat...

Ethics Commission hires Stepto as director


Following a six-week, 15-candidate search, the state Ethics Commission stayed close to home in selecting a new executive director Thursday.

After meeting in executive session for about 40 minutes, commissioners vot...

New Tamarack manager wants changes


In his initial days as the new general manager of Tamarack, Jim Browder found that shopping at the Beckley arts and conference center complex can be intimidating.

Browder told members of the state Parkways Authorit...

Turnpike tolls ‘vital,’ commissioner warns


A state Parkways Authority commissioner urged the agency Thursday to explain to new legislators why it is “vital” to keep tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike.

“I want to be certain we get our i...

Tomblin says he’ll work with Republican Legislature


Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he’s confident he’ll be able to work with a predominately Republican Legislature — just as he was able to build consensus between Republicans and Democrats during nearly 17...

GOP ends 83-year W.Va. House drought


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In a night that saw West Virginia turn Republican red in U.S. Senate and U.S. House races, Republicans on Tuesday also took control of the state House of Delegates, ending an 83-year Democratic...

Election Day wraps long, bitter campaign


Election Day brings to close long, bitter and expensive campaigns for U.S. Senate and U.S. House — and for control of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

As of Monday, both state party leaders sounded conf...

State revenues up, but energy prices worry officials


State tax collections exceeded projections in October, but falling energy prices have state Department of Revenue officials concerned about the future.

“We’re pretty much in the same boat we have been...

W.Va. Public Radio adding Matewan station


Thousands of Southern West Virginians should soon be able to listen to West Virginia Public Radio, after the state Educational Broadcasting Authority gave its approval Thursday to buy an FM radio station in Matewan, Ming...

Logan County assessor faces federal banking charge


Longtime Logan County Assessor Rick Grimmett faces a charge of violating federal banking laws, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced Wednesday.

Goodwin’s office filed an information in federal court charging...

Analysis said few House races could tip balance


Control of the House of Delegates could come down to as few as nine toss-up races, an analysis by students in two political science classes at West Virginia Wesleyan College suggests.

Teams of students were assigne...

Bond sale raises funds for Chesapeake Bay watershed projects


A bond sale to underwrite sewer and wastewater projects in West Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed went well, providing a total of nearly $100 million for the state’s share of funding for th...

Lottery to launch new online game


Lottery revenues continued to slide in September, but Thursday’s Lottery Commission meeting outlined a few glimmers of hope, including the launch of a new online game early next year.

West Virginia will join...

State computer system means growing pains, lawmakers told


Integrating dozens of state agency computer systems into the wvOasis supercomputer has meant growing pains for state agencies and employees, the system’s program manager told legislators Wednesday.


Emptied PEIA reserve fund led to benefit cuts, director says


After three years of spending down its reserve fund in lieu of premium increases, the state Public Employees Insurance Agency has reached the point where the fund will bottom out in 2015-16, forcing the agency to come up...

New W.Va. tourism commissioner found state lacking in social media


Amy Shuler Goodwin said she got a rude awakening shortly after taking her new job as state Tourism commissioner in June.

Contacted by Stonewall Jackson Resort management about a golfing promotion at the state park,...

MU sports budget is 28 percent subsidized


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia has two nationally ranked Division I college football teams — but only one is heavily subsidized by the state, a legislative post audit report released Tuesday shows.

Promise scholarships up, retention down


Numbers of high school seniors qualifying for Promise scholarships has been increasing over the past four years, although rates for retaining scholarships has declined slightly during the same period, legislators were ad...

Delegate says Ethics complaint against him dismissed


Delegate David Walker, D-Clay, said Monday he has been notified by the state Ethics Commission that a complaint filed against him for franking letters to constituents has been dismissed.

Clay was one of several Dem...

Proposal to house inmates in Ky. on ‘back burner’


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With inmate populations trending downward, and with opportunities for several new in-state facilities, a proposal to house state prisoners at a private, for-profit prison in Kentucky is no long...

Kessler announces attempt to diversify Southern W.Va. economy


State Senate President Jeff Kessler announced Thursday an initiative intended to come up with proposals for revitalizing and diversifying Southern West Virginia’s economy.

Kessler, D-Marshall, announced the ...

PEIA: Benefit cuts of $40 million needed next year


The Public Employees Insurance Agency needs to cut health-care benefits by $40 million next year — and will let insurees vote on what benefits to cut.

“We’re going to ask our constituents how t...

5 candidates, 5 views for 36th House District


Candidates in the 36th House of Delegates District differed Wednesday on how to go about tweaking a new law regulating aboveground storage tanks, prompted by a January chemical leak that contaminated the water supply for...

Commission seeks authority to set number live racing days


A resolution approved Wednesday seeking legislation to give the state Racing Commission authority to set the number of live racing days at the state’s thoroughbred and greyhound tracks could be a first step in rev...

Longest-serving House sergeant-at-arms Smith dies


A colorful statehouse institution and longest-serving House of Delegates sergeant-at-arms in state history has died.

Oce W. Smith Jr., who served as sergeant-at-arms in the House from 1967 through 2012, died Tuesda...

Interviews for ethics director continuing


Candidate interviews for a new executive director of the state Ethics Commission are going well, the chairwoman of the personnel committee said Monday.

“We are making progress, and each commissioner who ...

WVPB to hold Senate debate; Capito will skip


After being excluded from last week’s statewide televised debate, third-party candidates in the U.S. Senate race will get a chance to debate on the air on Friday, West Virginia Public Broadcasting Executive Direct...

Revised Capitol plan would keep handicapped spaces, trees


A revised plan for a bus turnaround for the state Capitol complex will preserve 13 handicapped parking spaces adjacent to the Culture Center – as well as trees that would have had to be cut down under the original...

House candidates say infrastructure key to 13th District


Three of four candidates in the 13th District House of Delegates race agreed Tuesday that improved roads and infrastructure and improved economic opportunities are keys for the district, which includes parts of Putnam, M...

Mountain Party plans protest outside debate


Supporters of the Mountain Party’s candidate for U.S. Senate plan to rally at the Clay Center tonight to protest Bob Henry Baber’s exclusion from a Senate candidate debate that will be broadcast statewide.<...

W.Va. economy still mixed in September, officials say


West Virginia’s economy continued to be a mixed bag in September, based on state tax collections, with personal income taxes exceeding expectations, but sales taxes and severance taxes underperforming, state Depar...

Committee to interview Ethics director candidates


Fifteen lawyers have applied to be the next executive director of the state Ethics Commission, and the commission’s personnel committee will spend the next month interviewing candidates, chairwoman Betty Ireland s...

W.Va. Supreme Court rules GOP can replace Raines on ballot


Republicans will have a fourth candidate on the ballot in Kanawha County’s 35th District race for the House of Delegates, after the West Virginia Supreme Court ordered Wednesday afternoon that Marie Sprouse-McDavi...

State Senate candidates talk ACA, abortion law


Dr. Tom Takubo said he’s running for state Senate in Kanawha County’s 17th District because he believes the Legislature will need medical expertise to deal with expansion of the federal Affordable Care Act....

House ballot vacancy argued at Supreme Court


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Arguments before the West Virginia Supreme Court Tuesday on the issue of filling a ballot vacancy in the 35th House of Delegates district in Kanawha County became a confusing debate over who sh...

Utility, rail property values increase in state


Investments by electric power, natural gas pipeline and cellphone companies increased the assessed value of property owned by utility companies and railroads in the state by $411.15 million in the past year, Jeff Amburge...

Pizatella may be named new Administration secretary


Changes are imminent in the state Department of Administration, sources indicate.

An announcement is reportedly pending naming Jason Pizatella as the department secretary. Pizatella currently is deputy chief of sta...

Wonderful West Virginia gets new publisher


After 17 years, Wonderful West Virginia magazine will have a new publisher, beginning with the January 2015 issue.

The Department of Natural Resources has awarded the contract to edit and design the monthly magazin...