www.wvgazettemail.com http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2017, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Funerals for: August 22, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT01/308229970 OBIT01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT01/308229970 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Beckner, Jenee 7:30 p.m., Christ Temple Church, Huntington.

Cox, Sharon 6 p.m., Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home, Ansted.

Harless Jr., Alpha 11 a.m., Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

Johnson, Jeffrey 6 p.m., New Life Baptist Church, Belleville.

Kirk, Richard Noon, Cooke Funeral Home, Cedar Grove.

Miller, Melvin 11 a.m., B'nai Jacob Eternal Home, South Charleston.

Perrine, Josephine 2 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Robinson, James 2 p.m., Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston.

Sayre, Elsie 11 a.m., Casto Funeral Home Chapel, Evans.

Silvey, John 11 a.m., The First Baptist Church of Hurricane.

Tucker, Kathryn 2 p.m., Allen Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Vanoy, Elvis Noon, Gatens

Wanner, John 11 a.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Bonita Adkins http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229996 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229996 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Bonita L. Adkins, age 76, of Cross Lanes, went to be with the Lord August 19, 2017 peacefully at home.

She was born April 5, 1941, in Lincoln Co., daughter of the late Wallace and Edith Cooper Dotson. She is also preceded in death by sisters Betty Jo, Rita, and Phyllis.

She is survived by two sons, Jonathan and Anthony of Cross Lanes; sisters Polly and Patricia; grandchildren Savana and Heather; and great grandchildren Jenna, Nathan, Jaelyn, Allison and Audrey.

The family will be having a memorial service at a later date.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.

Gatens-Harding Funeral Home 147 Main St. Poca is serving the Adkins family.

Christopher Andreason http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229980 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229980 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Christopher Michael Andreason, 22, of Ravenswood, W.Va, passed away on August 18, 2017, at his home. He was born on May 13, 1995, in Charleston, the son of Catherine Mefford of Ravenswood.Christopher graduated from Ripley High School, and competed in Special Olympics.The funeral service will be held on Wednesday, August 23, at 3 p.m. at Roush Funeral Home in Ravenwood.

Dorothy Baily http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229984 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229984 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Dorothy V. Bailey, age 82, of Marmet, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

Dorothy was a loving wife and mother. She was retired from the state of West Virginia from the civil service testing center. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lynn Arden Bailey.

She is survived by two sons, David Q. , his wife Kathy, of Chesapeake, and Michael C., his wife Charlene of Klamath Falls, OR; brothers Butch Carnes of Charlotte, NC; seven grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends at a memorial gathering from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Condolences may be sent by visiting www.hardingfamilygroup.com.

Harding Funerals & Cremations 514 50th St. SE Kanawha City is serving Dorothy's family.

Dana O. Bragg http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229990 OBIT http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/OBIT/308229990 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 00:01:00 -0400 Dana O. Bragg, 65, of Ripley, went home to be with our Lord and Savior, on Saturday, August 19, 2017.

He was born August 20, 1951, a son of the late Fred and Mabel Rose Bragg of Adrian.

He was a loving and devoted husband, dad, pappy and buddy. He was a retired construction worker who worked for United Steel Workers Local 14614, of Nitro. He loved WVU football, fishing, cooking for his friends and family, and mud racing. He was a member of the Ripley Masonic Lodge #16 A.F. & A.M., member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and a Patron Life member of the NRA.

Surviving him is his loving wife of 46 years, Helen Bragg; children Amy Miller (Mark), Amanda Buford (Jon), Amber Haddox (Fred); Grandchildren Zachary and Adam Miller, Abigail and Tyler Buford, Chase Horn, and McKinlee Haddox, all of Ripley; Sister Evelyn Tryon (John) and Edryth Harris (George); Brothers Okey Bragg (Marlene), Orland Bragg, and Owen Bragg (Julie). He is also survived by man nieces and nephews as well as great-nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hubbard Hospice House, 1606 Kanawha Blvd W, Charleston, WV 25387, or the American Cancer Society, in Dana's memory. Dana's family would like to thank Dr. Ali Sayed and staff at CAMC Cancer Center and Dr. Arif Malik and staff for their dedication, impeccable care and compassion.

The family woud also like to thank the wonderful ladies from Hospice. We appreciate all of their compassion and impeccable care to Dana. Special thanks to Miss Stephanie and Miss Sharon for everything you have done for our family.

A celebration of Dana's life will be held 1 p.m. Saturday August 26, at Waybright Funeral Home with John Gunter officiating. Online memories and condolences can be sent to the family by visiting www.waybrightfuneralhome.com.

Charleston police officer pleads not guilty to negligent homicide http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829890 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829890 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 19:20:20 -0400 By Lacie Pierson Staff writer By By Lacie Pierson Staff writer A Charleston police officer on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges related to a fatal crash in January.

Officer Stephen Doss, 27, stood before Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom to enter the plea for negligent homicide, speeding and an emergency vehicle violation.

Doss, who wore a shirt, tie and dress slacks, only spoke to answer Bloom's questions in the courtroom, and he was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Doss's attorney, Michael Del Giudice, said Doss still is employed with the Charleston Police Department, but he is on administrative leave and is required to be at his home between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Del Giudice called the situation a home confinement through his employer.

A trial date was scheduled for Sept. 25, and a pre-trial hearing will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 19.

Doss is accused of crashing into a car in the 400 block of Washington Street West, near the intersection of Maryland Avenue, on Jan. 4

A woman in the car, Dora Clarke, 80, suffered injuries in the crash and died five days later as a result, according to the criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

In the complaint, Doss is accused of driving 74 mph as he responded to a report of a man armed with a knife in the Orchard Manor housing complex, according to the complaint, while the area in which he was driving had a speed limit of 30 mph.

Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster told the Gazette-Mail in January it appeared Doss was speeding without using his emergency lights or siren, which is against the department's policy and state law.

If Doss is found guilty of negligent homicide, he would be eligible to serve up to one year in prison.

Reach Lacie Pierson at lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

Man accused in machete attack pleads not guilty to murder http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829891 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829891 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 19:12:17 -0400 By Lacie Pierson Staff writer By By Lacie Pierson Staff writer A man accused of killing another man with a machete pleaded not guilty to murder in Kanawha County Circuit Court Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Dakota Thompson, 23, of Charleston, is charged with killing 19-year-old Brandon Robinson in January and putting his body in the Kanawha River.

Thompson waived his right to a speedy trial before Judge Duke Bloom, and a trial date was set for Oct. 31. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23.

Thompson, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles, was escorted to court from South Central Regional Jail where he is being held.

Robinson's body was found in the Kanawha River on Jan. 10, two days after Thompson is alleged to have killed him.

Lt. Steve Cooper, Charleston's chief of detectives, told the Gazette-Mail in January the men were acquaintances who generally were homeless.

On Jan. 8, a woman told police she and Thompson were inside of a tent along the bank of the Kanawha River, behind Lowe's Home Improvement store in Kanawha City, according to the criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

She said Robinson began throwing snowballs at the tent, and a physical altercation began when Thompson exited the tent, according to the complaint.

Thompson is alleged to have attacked Robinson with a machete then stomped on his head during the altercation, according to the complaint.

After that, the witness told police Thompson pushed Robinson's body into the river, according to the complaint.

Thompson reportedly told officers Robinson struck him in the head with a tree branch when he left the tent leading to the altercation.

Robinson's death was the first murder reported in Charleston in 2017, and divers searched the river near the scene on Jan. 9 when the high temperature was 37 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Robinson's body was recovered from the river on Jan. 10, when the high temperature was 57 degrees.

Thompson remained incarcerated Tuesday night at South Central Regional Jail after Bloom denied his bond.

Reach Lacie Pierson at lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

Crossings Mall Kroger reopens with new look more than a year after flood http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829892 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829892 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 18:46:26 -0400 Max Garland By Max Garland After a 416-day drought, Elkview finally has its Kroger open once again.

The grocery store at the Crossings Mall shopping center is reopening 9 a.m. Wednesday, and the Kanawha County Commission announced it has declared Aug. 23 "Kroger Day" to celebrate the stores reopening, according to a news release.

It marks the end of a long journey for several Kroger employees who were transferred to other locations after Crossings Mall businesses were marooned after the June 2016 flood washed away the center's culvert bridge. Restoration efforts were stalled as Crossings Mall owner Tara Retail Group entered bankruptcy until a federal bankruptcy judge approved a bridge financing plan.

Michelle Keeling, a customer service manager employed by the location since 2006 (outside of a 3-month stint at another Kroger), said she remembers leaving just 15 minutes before the bridge washed out because of the flooding.

"It was probably the most horrific thing that could've happened to this area," Keeling said of the flood.

Keeling said Kroger was "adamant" about transferring employees to other locations and "everyone that wanted to keep their job kept their job." Ninety-six employees at the Crossings Mall locations were offered positions at area stores, store manager Dan Workman said. About 65 employees are coming back to the Elkview location, he added.

Shortly after the flood, Keeling said Kroger offered her a job to help convert UScans, Kroger's self-checkout machines, at other Kroger locations to new software, she said. That meant traveling to a large chunk of Kroger stores in West Virginia, including Barboursville, Teays Valley and South Charleston locations. She even worked on an Ashland Kroger's software.

Keeling said Kroger compensated every mile, but added that she is looking forward to getting home at a consistent hour.

"They're very happy there aren't any 10- to 12-hour days, now it's back to eight," Keeling said of her six children.

The main access point to Crossings Mall remained impassible until last month. Including Kroger, twenty-three of the 26 businesses open prior to the June 2016 flood are expected to reopen, according to business representatives and rent documents from Tara Retail Group. The Kroger fuel center reopened in late July shortly after a new bridge opened at the mall.

Recent job fairs held by Kroger have helped fill out its Elkview roster, and front-end supervisor Tina Meadows is one of the new additions. Meadows has undergone training over the past few weeks for her position, which makes sure the work flow at the front desk and cash registers goes smoothly, she said.

"It takes a strong group of people to come back to this community and make it better after what happened," Meadows said. "It's all about people helping people."

For Workman, the store's reopening is much welcomed after months of speculation around the future of the shopping center and when businesses would be able to reopen.

"There was a new rumor every week," he said. "There was no significant source as to what [Tara Retail Group] was doing to the bridge. Now we've gotten to the light at the end of the tunnel."

Workman showed off the store's renovations Tuesday, including new shelves and flooring, a revamped produce department and an expanded deli section. The changes aren't drastic, but they are welcome, Workman said.

"[Kroger] would call this a 'refresh remodel,'" he said. "They didn't completely remove compartments or tear down walls."

The stranded inventory needed to be removed from the store to prepare for the renovations, which meant six months of hand-stacking boxes one at a time, Workman said. Store shelves were taken apart in April and contractors began renovations two months later.

Although no one welcomed the delays to the bridge's construction, Workman said it provided a window for Kroger to renovate the store without shutting out customers during the process. Kroger already had considered updating the Crossings Mall location prior to the flood, according to Workman.

"It's very much an inconvenience to customers when we have to go through a remodel being open," he said. "It's a lot quicker of a process being closed and empty than it would have been otherwise."

Another Crossings Mall business also is slated to open this week, as Advance Auto Parts announced its location will reopen Friday. The location will hold a grand opening celebration at 3 p.m. Sept. 1, according to a news release.

Reach Max Garland at max.garland@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4886 or follow @MaxGarlandTypes on Twitter.

Charleston's Civil War soldier statues erected with private funds http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829893 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829893 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 18:36:42 -0400 Rick Steelhammer By Rick Steelhammer According to the Charleston chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, which funded the monument, the Stonewall Jackson Statue was built to honor the memory of all Confederate soldiers from present-day West Virginia who fought in the Civil War. Fundraising and design work began on the larger-than-life bronze statue of Robert E. Lee's most trusted and relied-upon general in 1905, after a unanimously passed joint resolution by the state Legislature gave the organization permission to place the statue on the Statehouse lawn.

The statue was sculpted by Moses Ezekiel, a former student at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, where Jackson taught from 1851 until the war began 10 years later. Ezekiel, VMI's first Jewish cadet, according to the institute, began his studies the year after Jackson resigned the faculty to join the Confederate cause. After a year of study, Ezekiel joined a company of cadets who left VMI to enlist in the Confederate Army. He was a corporal serving on the honor guard that escorted Jackson's body back to VMI after the general died on May 10, 1863, from complications of friendly fire bullet wounds that resulted in the amputation of an arm following the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Ezekiel served as a sergeant during the 1864 Battle of New Market and the defense of Richmond the following year. He completed his studies at VMI after the war. Later, after studying medicine, he opted not to become a physician but instead devoted full-time attention to what had been an avocation - painting and sculpture. He moved to Europe and produced more than 200 works, and by the time he was commissioned to produce Jackson's statue, he had been knighted by Italy's King Victor Emmanuel in recognition of his talents.

Jackson, an orphan who grew up in the Weston area and went on to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War, where he first met Lee, before resigning his commission to teach at VMI. He earned his nickname for his tenacious defense of fellow Confederates during the epic battle of First Manassas in 1861, and went on to lead troops during the battles of Fredericksburg, Antietam and Chancellorsville. In September 1862, he engineered the largest surrender of troops to occur during the Civil War, capturing 12,000 Union troops stationed at Harpers Ferry.

"The people of both causes will unite in praise of this great man, who has shown to the world the tremendous genius of the American soldier," said Samuel Green, head of the Charleston United Confederate Veterans, during the 1910 dedication ceremony for Jackson's statue. "He has given the generation of young men who will fight the future battles of his native land an example of the value of loyalty and study, faith and fortitude."

Edwards, who grew up in "Bellefleur," a now-crumbling mansion overlooking W.Va. 61 at Coalburg, was the son of William Henry Edwards, a lawyer and coal operator better known in scientific circles as the "Father of Lepidoptery," or the study of butterflies, through which he became a student of the natural selection process and corresponded with Charles Darwin. The younger Edwards, in addition to politics and coal development, was the author of nonfiction travel-adventure stories, including "Into the Yukon," "Through Scandanavia to Moscow," and "On the Mexican Highlands."

To represent the Union cause via a statue, Edwards chose the depiction of a Home Guard soldier carrying a musket and a billowing American flag. He commissioned sculptor Henry K. Bush-Brown, who, among other works, had created three equestrian statues for the Gettysburg Battlefield depicting Union generals George Meade, John F. Reynolds and John Sedgwick and their steeds.

The Mountaineer Soldier Statue, as Bush-Brown's monument is known, was built to "commemorate the valor of those who on April 15, 1861, in instant response to the first call of Abraham Lincoln, formed themselves into the intrepid Home Guards who held in check unaided the forces of Wise, Lee and Jackson until the federal armies came."

"It honors the fighting soul of those who laid down the pick and shovel and put aside the plow and went forward to create the mightiest army the world has ever known," Edwards said at the statue's dedication ceremony on December 10, 1912. Edwards bore the brunt of financing the work, which like the Jackson statue, involved no state funds.

The model for Bush-Brown's statue was Eli "Rimfire" Hamrick, a six-foot-three mountaineer from Webster County, according to "A History of the West Virginia State Capitol" by Jim Wallace.

Gov. William Glasscock was on hand to praise the statue upon its unveiling, but told the dedication ceremony crowd (considerably smaller than that on hand for the Stonewall Jackson Statue unveiling, according to the Gazette) that for soldiers of both sides, "the greatest monument erected to them is the tower of Liberty - equal rights to all and special privileges to none."

Both statues were relocated to the new State Capitol campus after the downtown Statehouse burned in 1921.

In 1978, the Jackson statue, at the request of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, was turned 90 degrees to look out over the Kanawha River, so that the public could view the monument from Kanawha Boulevard and California Avenue, according to "Capitols of West Virginia: A Pictorial History."

Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelhammer@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5169 or follow @rsteelhammer on Twitter.

Audit delay causes problems for WV community colleges, officials say http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829894 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829894 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 18:27:50 -0400 Jake Jarvis By Jake Jarvis Recent sanctions on the state's public colleges could make it harder for community colleges to launch programs quick enough to respond to the needs of the workforce, said Sarah Tucker, chancellor of the Community and Technical College System.

The sanctions, which came after West Virginia submitted a statewide audit of its finances to the federal government late for a third year in a row, means colleges will need approval before launching or ending any new academic program.

"This was not a sanction we saw coming, or that we understood might be possible," Tucker told an interim legislative committee Monday afternoon. "For my personal opinion, I think it's a pretty significant overreach."

The sanctions will last for at least two years. Another set of sanctions, which slows down how college access federal financial aid dollars, will last for at least five years.

Tucker said it's not uncommon for a business to approach a community college and ask it to start a one-year certificate program in the next six weeks. That had been possible before the sanctions, and Tucker said colleges can launch a program in a few days in some cases.

"They (the federal education department) won't say if it will take a week to review or if it will take two weeks to review or if will take two months," Tucker said. "They won't give us any timeline at all."

The American Association of Community Colleges has gone to bat for West Virginia and is asking the U.S. Department of Education to overturn the sanctions, according to Tucker. The group, which advocates for federal community college policies, is worried that West Virginia's sanctions could mean future states would see similar sanctions.

These programmatic sanctions likely won't have as much of an effect on the four-year colleges. There, administrators can take months or years to launch new academic programs and there is less of a need to meet pressure from businesses.

The Higher Education Policy Commission, the CTCS' sister agency which oversees four-year colleges, recently approved three new programs. Commissioners approved two programs at West Virginia State University: a master of sciences in sports studies at and a bachelor of science in engineering with a major in chemical engineering. They also approved an Earth and space science teacher certification program at Fairmont State University.

Jessica Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the HEPC, said those programs wouldn't need to be approved since their planning was done before the sanctions took affect.

So far, only two colleges in West Virginia have needed financial help from the state's budget office to cover expenses now that school is back in session, said Department of Administration Secretary John Myers.

Myers said the state's budget office would pull general revenue the schools would normally get in the second quarter of the financial year and give it to the schools in the current quarter. Then, after the school draws down money from the federal education department, the school would give back the money.

Those schools, Bluefield State College and Concord University, needed help because of financial sanctions the U.S. Department of Administration slapped on the state's public college following the late audit submission.

"The governor is commissioning a third-party investigation of the issue," Myers told an interim legislative committee Monday afternoon. "Upon completion of this third-party investigation - I'm sure not only will an analysis take place but there will be some additional actions that occur as a result of the recommendation."

Butch Antolini, the governor's communications director, did not respond to a request for comment. Previously, Gov. Justice said that "heads will roll" as a result of the late audit. No firings at the Department of Administration or in higher education have since been announced.

So far, most state officials have pointed to the Consolidated Public Retirement Board as the group at fault for the state's late audit. That group - which falls under the Department of Administration - has to prepare information about employees' pension in order to comply with federal accounting standards. Agencies can't complete their audits to give to the state until they have that pension information.

Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, asked in an interim legislative education accountability meeting Monday morning how many higher education employees are enrolled in the old teacher retirement system. Since it's a low amount, he suggested the pension information could have been sent out sooner.

There are 294 higher education employees in the old retirement system, according to Diane Holley-Brown, a Department of Administration spokeswoman. That system stopped enrolling employees in 1991, and new employees are enrolled in a private retirement fund not managed by the state.

It was not possible for the retirement board to prepared pension data for just the institutions of higher education, Holley-Brown said in an email. That information is based on a single employer's contribution to the fund compared to 900 different employers' information.

Should the state be late again submitting its audit, Tucker said, the financial sanctions would be increased. It would mean that colleges could only draw down federal student aid money every 30 days, instead of at the beginning of the semester.

"We cannot afford to do that - at all," Tucker said. "That would be a significant problem."

Reach Jake Jarvis at jake.jarvis@wvgazettemail.com, Facebook.com/newsroomjake, 304-348-7939 or @NewsroomJake on Twitter.

Despite party switch, WV GOP to oppose Justice's road bond referendum http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0101/170829895 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0101/170829895 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 18:18:13 -0400 Jake Zuckerman By Jake Zuckerman Despite Gov. Jim Justice's recent flip to the Republican party, the state GOP executive committee voted to oppose Justice's road bond referendum.

The party met in Princeton on Saturday and passed a resolution to oppose the referendum for a constitutional amendment in a nearly-unanimous voice vote, according to several people who attended.

The resolution calls for countering Justice's proposal, stating it would permit the borrowing of billions of dollars and interest payments for up to 25 years and lead to gasoline tax hikes or DMV and toll fee increases.

If the Oct. 7 referendum were to pass, the state could sell up to $1.6 billion in road bonds paid for via a hike in the gas tax, increase in sales tax on motor vehicles and higher DMV fees. The legislature passed these proposals during the special legislative session.

Justice said in July because the taxes and fee increases are already in effect to pay for them, he's confident voters will approve allowing the state to issue the bonds.

Most those in attendance at the GOP event said no more than one or two voted to support the referendum.

Rob Cornelius, a GOP operative and Wood County's Republican party chairman, drafted the resolution. He said Tuesday the bond proposal violates several aspects of the party's platform, specifically the tax and fee increases. Moreover, he said given the state's recent budgetary woes, it is in no place to be borrowing any more money.

"The biggest one is, we don't want more debt, and the state's going to borrow at least $1.6 billion," he said. "I don't know if you've looked at the state budget, but this is not a state that should be borrowing a billion dollars for anything, are you kidding me?"

Conrad Lucas, state GOP chairman, said the party platform does the job of explaining the opposition in itself.

"If, as a practical effect, this could lead to higher taxes or this could lead to larger budgetary problems for the state, it's very understandable why conservative Republicans would oppose it," he said. "If the governor's office has clarifying points on that, or they view the resolution as wrong, then we look forward to hearing their positions."

Butch Antolini, Justice's communications director, did not respond to a comment request for this report.

The chairman of the House Roads and Transportation Committee, Marty Gearheart, has issued news releases in the past calling on Justice to promise that no money raised from the recent tax and fee hikes will be used for anything but the road bonds.

Though Gearheart opposes the referendum, he said Tuesday though he's heard what he wants from administration members, but he needs Justice to personally and publicly say as much if he's to get on board with it. Also, he said the bond should have been voted on before its required revenue boosts.

"Secondarily, I just do not believe that we don't need to go into debt on that level," he said. "I really think we took the cart before the horse by passing the tax prior to the bond being considered."

Though he won the 2016 election as a Democrat, Justice announced Aug. 3 he was converting to the Republican party.

Beyond the resolution itself, Cornelius said Saturday's event marked the first time the party discussed Justice's switch to the GOP, with raucous results.

"It was announced as part of the political update that West Virginia had a Republican governor, and I'll tell you right now, ask anyone who was there, the room was filled with laughter and boos," he said. "Nobody in that room thought this was great. Nobody reacted positively."

Since his party switch, Justice has fired his chief of staff and fielded a slew of resignation letters from aides and a division commissioner.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at jake.zuckerman@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4814 or follow @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.

Sissonville shooting leaves man dead after suspected knife attack http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829896 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829896 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:57:43 -0400 Giuseppe Sabella By Giuseppe Sabella In what appeared to be act of self defense, a man shot and killed another man in Sissonville on Tuesday afternoon.

Tracy Stalnaker, 53, armed himself with a knife and chased the other man, who in turn shot and killed Stalnaker, said Lt. Brian Humphreys, a spokesman for the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office.

Police didn't initially name the shooter, who as of yet has not been charged in the incident.

The shooting unfolded outside Smitty's Auto Parts, located on Wolf Pen Drive.

Stalnaker died at the scene, Humphreys said.

"No one is in custody," he said. "There is no ongoing danger."

Stalnaker's family members gathered at a home down the street. At least one lives in the neighborhood, and another said Stalnaker suffered from mental illness.

He allegedly got into an altercation at a nearby bar about 15 minutes before his death.

Holding a tall Budweiser can, he walked into Raw Bar II, said Debbie Carpenter, the bar manager.

Carpenter said she told the Stalnaker to get rid of his beer. When he returned, the manager noticed a long knife in his waistband.

She later realized Stalnaker had several knives around his waist. He at one point threatened the bar owner, a knife in each hand, Carpenter said.

"He was never right, but today he was really messed up in the head," she said.

Reach Giuseppe Sabella at giuseppe.sabella@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5189 or follow @Gsabella on Twitter.

WV tire collection dates, locations announced for fall http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829898 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829898 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:37:42 -0400 The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan is holding several tire collections across the state this fall. Collections in the area include:

Braxton County: Sept. 9, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Braxton 911 Center, Flatwoods.

Kanawha County: Sept. 16, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Call Road near Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department, Sissonville; Sept. 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., AEP property behind GoMart, Cabin Creek; Oct. 21, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., intersection of 4th Avenue and C Street, South Charleston

Lincoln County: Oct. 7., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lincoln County High School.

Logan County: Aug. 25-26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Riverview Avenue, Logan.

Putnam County: Sept. 23, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Putnam County Courthouse, Winfield.

Raleigh County: Sept. 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., "Green Box Curve" on W.Va. 3, Dameron; Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Raleigh County Convention Center upper lot, Beckley.

Other events are scheduled throughout the state, and more events could be added. For the full list, visit www.dep.wv.gov/dlr/oer/reap/tires/Pages/TireCollectionEvents.aspx.

Proposal to keep WV workers' pay on public projects secret debated http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0101/170829899 GZ0101 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0101/170829899 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:24:53 -0400 Phil Kabler By Phil Kabler Legislators Tuesday debated a proposal to keep secret how much workers are paid when they're hired for publicly funded projects.

Bryan Hoylman, president of Associated Builders and Contractors, argued that making the data available to the public invades workers' privacy and amounts to revealing proprietary information.

"That information is proprietary and is a trade secret," Hoylman told a legislative interim committee.

Hoylman said disclosing wages of employees working on publicly funded projects was necessary when state law required contractors to pay state prevailing wages, but isn't needed since the prevailing wage law was repealed last year.

"Some states that don't have prevailing wage don't have certified payroll requirements at all," he said.

He said competing companies can now use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain wage information on current publicly funded construction projects in hopes of underbidding the contractors on future projects.

"It is our primary concern," Hoylman said. "You have an ability to delve into the internal costs of that particular company."

However, Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association, said the disclosures - which are required under the West Virginia Jobs Act - are invaluable in uncovering fraud and waste in taxpayer-funded projects.

Smith said ability to access wage information on multi-million dollar projects is critical at a time when the Justice administration is pursuing nearly $3 billion of road construction funding.

"This bill is seeking to hide how a large portion of that money is spent," he said.

"By restricting this, it makes it impossible for us to do our job," said Smith, who represents state newspapers.

He cited current headlines regarding a Division of Highways engineer and a Putnam County contractor who were part of a kickback scheme that funneled $1.5 million of projects to a South Carolina company.

While Hoylman said the disclosures amount to an invasion of privacy for workers, whose names, home addresses and wages are listed, Smith said the workers themselves benefit from being able to access that information.

Smith said workers can use the data to verify that the contractor is accurately reporting their wages to the state - "I'm listed at $20 an hour but I'm making $12" - or to see if the company improperly billed for wages on days when work was rained out.

Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, asked Hoylman if he had examples of workers whose privacy was invaded because of the disclosure. Hoylman said he had heard anecdotally about incidents.

"I would think to advance your argument, you would have brought some examples of that," said Caputo.

During the 2017 regular session, legislation to make the wage information submitted to the Division of Labor under the Jobs Act confidential and not subject to disclosure (SB412) passed the Senate on a mostly party-line 23-11 vote, but was moved off the active House calendar on the final day of the regular session.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1220 or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

Putnam firm expected to challenge contract ban http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829900 GZ01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ01/170829900 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:11:56 -0400 Eric Eyre By Eric Eyre A Putnam County company entangled in a state Division of Highways kickback scheme is expected to fight efforts to bar the firm from doing business with the state agencies, cities and counties, a purchasing official told West Virginia lawmakers Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the state started "debarment" proceedings against Bayliss & Ramey, a Putnam County electrical contractor that repairs and installs traffic signals. The company's president, Mark Whitt, resigned last week and was sentenced Monday to three years of probation.

Bayliss & Ramey admitted guilt last year for its role in a kickback scheme that illegally funneled $1.5 million to South Carolina contractor Dennis Corp., according to a "deferred prosecution agreement" with the U.S. Attorney's Office. The deal requires Bayliss & Ramey to cooperate with federal investigators and adopt corporate reforms to prevent future fraud. In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to drop all charges after 18 months.

"We fully expect them to come back and say, 'Bayliss & Ramey did nothing wrong, we're under a deferred prosecution agreement, Mark Whitt admitted he did all this, and he's no longer with the company,'" said Mike Sheets, acting director of the state Purchasing Division. "We expect that to be their defense."

Bayliss & Ramey's lawyer has repeatedly declined to comment.

The company has 30 days to file a challenge to the state's move to block the firm from bidding on government contracts. State officials characterize debarment as the "nuclear option" because it can punish companies for years.

The Purchasing Division now has just one company and two people on its ban list: Wallpapers In Stock of Charleston, Clark Diehl (owner of Wallpapers In Stock) and Gerry Barton of Valls Creek.

Diehl was convicted on fraud charges in 2011 after admitting he was illegally awarded a bid to redecorate offices at the state Capitol. Barton served two years in prison after being convicted of money laundering and stealing government surplus property.

"When a vendor is debarred, it means not only that they can't do business with the state, they can't [have a contract] with any entity that receives government money, so counties, cities, none of those can do business with a vendor that's been debarred," Sheets said during a joint House-Senate committee meeting at the state Capitol.

Federal prosecutors allege Whitt used a statewide signal maintenance contract to illegally funnel work to a Dennis Corp. in South Carolina, while inflating invoices by 20 percent to ensure his firm was paid for its role in the kickback scheme. Whitt helped to conceal the illegal flow of funds from the DOH to Dennis Corp., according to prosecutors.

For months, the state balked at sanctioning Bayliss & Ramey, while waiting for a judge to sentence Whitt. The company claimed Whitt was no longer running the firm, but in late June, Whitt sent an email to a DOH administrator, listing his name as the firm's contact. In March, Whitt's wife, Janice, supposedly took over as president.

"In that email, he made himself equivalent, in our minds, in running the company with his wife who was president," Sheets told lawmakers.

Four others have pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the kickback scheme: Former Marshall University engineering professor Andrew Nichols, former DOH engineers Bruce Kenney and James Travis Miller, and Dennis Corp. executive Daniel R. Dennis. More than $1.5 million was illegally diverted to Dennis Corp. in exchange for $200,000 in bribes and kickbacks, according to the criminal charges.

A West Virginia board that licenses engineers has filed four complaints against individuals snared in the federal investigation into kickbacks at the state Division of Highways, board President Ed Robinson said Tuesday.

The state Board of Registration for Professional Engineers initiated its own inquiry earlier this year. Robinson declined to discuss any specifics. The board seeks to revoke the engineers' licenses.

"Once we go through this, I want it to stick," Robinson said. "We take these cases very seriously."

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-4869 or follow @ericeyre on Twitter.

Jerry Gilbert: Universities need to teach civility (Daily Mail) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/DM0403/170829902 DM0403 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/DM0403/170829902 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 17:00:00 -0400 I want to add my voice to that of others condemning the hatred, violence and chaos that recently erupted in Charlottesville.

As was said at a vigil in Huntington on August 13, Marshall University will be a place where all ideas and people will be respected.

As individuals in higher education, we have a significant opportunity to teach our students to be tolerant and civil when it comes to interacting with others. There is way too much incivility in our current society, and it is our responsibility to model appropriate behavior.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees us free speech and the right to freely express our opinions.

That is a right we must continue to protect and one that requires we avoid censorship on college campuses, even when we strongly disagree with an opinion.

We should teach our college students that being passionate about an issue is great but that we should never let our passion provoke anger or animosity toward someone holding an opposing view.

Our covenant with the state's citizens to provide a balanced and comprehensive college education advocates that civility be promoted and embraced as we discuss all concepts and ideas as part of our instruction.

At Marshall, we are fortunate to have a long-standing statement of beliefs, the Marshall Creed, which affirms the core values of our university and holds up numerous examples of principles we seek to endorse.

Within the Marshall Creed, these principles are included: respect for others, a duty to support the common good, embracing of diversity and opposition to injustice. It further states, "We are a civil community treating all individuals and groups with consideration, decency, and respect, and expressing disagreements in rational ways."

We must speak out against hatred and violence, and show that brotherly love can conquer hatred, even hatred as vile as that espoused by neo-Nazi groups, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. I have seen countless examples in my life experience where love saves the day, and people's hearts and minds are changed. I have seen it first-hand and I have heard about it in others' lives.

Recently, when listing to National Public Radio, I heard a short piece on a program called "Snap Judgment." The conversation was entitled "The Rabbi and the KKK." Rabbi Michael Weisser tells the story of moving to Nebraska from New York and being almost immediately threatened by a grand dragon in the KKK.

The rabbi reaches out to this white supremacist in compassion and wins him over after a period of months. It is truly a story of the miracle of love and one worth hearing.

As our college students across the nation begin the fall semesters, we in higher education need to be advocates for tolerance and decency and respect. And we even need to bring up the "L" word, love. It is the most powerful emotion we can employ to change the world for the better, coupled with our intellects and our skills.

Love is what I wish for all the students at Marshall University and for students at all the universities around the country, where we are helping shape the great minds of the future.

The question is "what can we do?" The answer is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Jerome A. "Jerry" Gilbert, Ph.D., is the 37th president of Marshall University. He took office in January 2016. You can find the Marshall Creed online at marshall.edu/ucomm/marshall-university-creed.

Boil-water advisories: Aug. 23, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0112/170829903 GZ0112 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0112/170829903 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:58:43 -0400 n West Virginia American Water has issued a boil-water advisory for customers located on Ravinia Road, Heron Road, Cardinal Road, Stone Road and 100 to 110 Oakwood Road in Charleston. The advisory follows a water main break.

n West Virginia American Water has issued a boil-water advisory for customers in the Pisgah Road area of Mercer County. This includes all customers east of the Pisgah Booster (approximately 3789 Pisgah Road) to the intersection with Petry-Elgood Road, Petry-Elgood Road from 493 Elgood Road to Southern Hollow Road. The advisory follows a booster failure.

Customers in these areas are urged to boil their water for at least one full minute prior to use until further notice.

n The boil-water advisory has been lifted for the City of Ronceverte water system.

n The boil-water advisory has been lifted for Kanawha Falls Public Service District

n The boil-water advisory has been lifted for the McDowell County Public Service District - Berwind System.

n The boil-water advisory has been lifted for the McDowell County Public Service District - Maybeury System.

Luke Popovich: Coal is making a genuine comeback (Daily Mail) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/DM0403/170829904 DM0403 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/DM0403/170829904 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:55:44 -0400 Neither the dead nor the living read their obituaries.

And it looks like the U.S. coal industry isn't reading its obituary - because it isn't dead. As recent months have made clear, reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.

From the second quarter of 2016 to the same period this year, U.S. coal production rose almost 16 percent. And the number of new mines in Central Appalachia that produce metallurgical coal used in steelmaking rose from 155 to 212 in the year ending in June, according to Argus Coal.

Offshore demand for U.S. metallurgical coal has soared by 60 percent this year. In fact, the U.S. is exporting more of its world-leading supply of coal to every major region, including the EU, where shipments are up by more than a third over 2016.

Nuclear plants are struggling in the UK and in France, creating surprisingly strong demand for U.S. coal. And steam coal exports to Asia, where power grids are still growing, have doubled.

Here at home, coal is holding its own. The U.S. Energy Information Agency's (EIA) recent short-term forecast projects coal to narrowly edge out natural gas for power generation this year, as it has most every year before 2016.

That year was an anomaly, when gas grabbed 34 percent of the market, pushing down coal's share to 30 percent and fueling not only power plants but predictions of the coming coal collapse.

But the gas inventory glut that dampened gas prices last year is waning, leading EIA to project coal's continuing recovery next year, narrowly winning the market share rivalry with gas in 2018. With each energy source claiming about a third of the market for electricity generation, nuclear power growth stagnant, and wind and solar power at under 10 percent of the market, America's power grid still relies heavily on fossil fuel generation.

We can attribute part of the nascent coal revival to the unshackling of myriad regulations that drove coal plants into retirement and forced down production.

But Darwinian logic actually explains much of the revival. Producers that survived both the brutal stress test from shale gas and federal regulations have squeezed costs out of their operations.

This positioned the U.S. to become more than a swing supplier for offshore markets. EIA analyst Elias Johnson recently told Reuters that it's possible "the U.S. will become more of a primary player in the global coal trade market."

If exports are the key to coal's longer-term revival, it may not be coal exports but the growing export of natural gas. That may lift energy prices enough to sustain coal's rally and help consumers.

Hungry for better prices abroad, both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and piped gas to Mexico and Canada could affect the energy game - if not change it completely.

Even though LNG costs, including shipping and liquefaction, double the price of U.S. gas in Europe, the low cost of shale production makes our basins competitive with Russia's. The cheap gas that tormented U.S. coal miners may soon be Gazprom's headache instead.

A 2015 EIA report concluded that in every scenario "greater LNG exports raise domestic prices and lower prices internationally." Already, analysts expect U.S. natural gas prices to climb steadily, and EIA sees $3.00 prices for a million BTUs rising to $3.29 next year.

That could be just the beginning.

While LNG potential has been restricted by infrastructure, it may not be for long. The sole American LNG terminal, Sabine Pass, may be joined by four others on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts by 2021 that already have permit approvals.

Last week Continental Resources' CEO Harold Hamm told The Financial Times to expect gas exports to triple over the longer term, eventually taking 40 percent of current domestic production.

The bottom line, asks energy expert Robert Walton of Utility Dive, is "whether the shipping of natural gas to global markets will impact U.S. consumers?"

It's a good question, with no certain answer.

What is certain is that keeping more coal plants in operation will reduce the risk to households and businesses.

Luke Popovich is Vice President for External Relations at the National Mining Association.

Chris Slater: Let's keep the Bible out of our classrooms (Gazette) http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0405/170829905 GZ0405 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0405/170829905 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 14:45:51 -0400 Chris Slater By Chris Slater My little hometown of Princeton, in Mercer County, is currently being torn apart and destroyed. No, not by the opioid crisis. Well, yeah, it is being torn apart by that, too. But, that's not what we're here to talk about. Mercer County is seemingly in crisis mode right now because they love spending part of the school day teaching the Bible to elementary school children, and they might not be able to do that anymore.

The controversial "Bible in the Schools" program has been taught in Mercer County schools since the 1930s. The reasoning for keeping this awful program seems to be a mix of "Because we've always done it" and "What else are we gonna do?"

After a lawsuit was filed questioning the constitutionality of the program, the decision was made by the Mercer County Board of Education to put the program on hold for the 2017-18 school year.

This has been covered by several different publications, from the tiny - The Princeton Times - to the pretty big - The Washington Post.

I moved to Princeton when I was 15, so I didn't learn about the elementary school Bible classes until I was older. It just seemed so insane to me to hear from my friends that they went through years of half-hour class sessions during the school day dedicated to learning about the Christian Bible.

I'm what we refer to as a "non-believer." It was never a thing I grew up wit. Therefore, I was never taught to blindly accept a religion viewpoint. As a child, I lumped God into the same make-believe world as Santa and the Easter Bunny.

I've watched Facebook become a sounding board for this issue, as locals and others let their voices be heard.

Former Concord University Student Center Manager Bill Skeat posted in a comments section: "Create a Club period one day a week and let students choose the club they want to attend - also creates extra time for band, athletics, art, drama."

Chris Suiter, a fella I went to high school with, liked the distraction from the school day: "Bible class was awesome all you had to do was memorize the names of all the chapters in the Old Testament or find chapters/verses as quickly as possible. I didn't learn anything about the Bible though."

Ashleigh Freeman, who I waited tables with back in the day, chimed in with this: "Unconstitutional VS Benefiting Children. I will never see your point. Everyone is so worried about things being politically correct ... instead of helping their community, they want to tear it apart."

The main argument centers on the separation of church and state. Mercer County gets by on a technicality. Yes, they are shoving religion down the throats of the students, but the taxpayers aren't funding it and it's voluntary. Voluntary should be in quotations, since from what I have heard, there is no alternative. You take the class or you find somewhere to sit and do nothing for half an hour.

Just because something is funded by volunteers, that doesn't mean it's a good thing. I guess it's technically not illegal that they're teaching this in the schools, but it's really a horrible thing to do.

There's a time for church. Sundays. Wednesdays. I think some people do Saturdays, as well. And, plus, that book is just sitting there on your coffee table or on your bookshelf. If you really want your kid to know about this stuff that bad, you can do it in the privacy of your own home, away from school.

Chris Slater is a copy editor for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Gazette cartoon: August 25, 2017 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0408/170829909 GZ0408 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20170822/GZ0408/170829909 Tue, 22 Aug 2017 14:13:00 -0400