04 September 2008

W.Va. Coal Plant Project Loses Federal Funding

The U.S. Department of Energy has dropped plans to fund a $416 million power plant that would burn coal and coal waste in western Greenbrier County, The Charleston Gazette reports.

"Developers have for more than five years struggled to come up with private money to match DOE funds, and environmental groups have complained that the project would pollute local air and water," the article said. "DOE spent more than $8 million on project planning, and the West Virginia Economic Development Authority lost $3 million in a loan guarantee approved in 2004 by the Wise administration."

Four Years Later

West Virginians attending the Republican National Convention are contrasting their treatment with what they experienced at the 2004 event, The Charleston Gazette reports.

"Last time, the delegation was assigned a five-star hotel in midtown Manhattan, within walking distance of Madison Square Garden, where they had prime seating on the convention floor," the article said.

But with West Virginia no longer a battleground state (but instead considered safe McCain territory), "This time, they've been relegated to a second-tier hotel in Bloomington, Minn., a good 20 miles away from the convention center in St. Paul, where the delegation's seats are pushed off to the side of the stage."

03 September 2008

Quote of the Day

"I don't think she saw me until she hit me. At least I saw the car. It was in slow motion. You realize this is going to happen and it does."

-- First Lady Gayle Manchin, recounting her weekend bicycle mishap to the Charleston Daily Mail.

W.Va. Supreme Court Begins Fall Term (Updated)

The Associated Press highlights some of higher profile cases slated to appear before the justices during the term that begins Wednesday.

"The fall term marks the last few months on the bench for both justices Larry Starcher and Spike Maynard," MetroNews notes in its preview. "Starcher decided not to seek reelection while Maynard was defeated in the May Primary Election."

MetroNews reports further that while not in person, Justice Joseph Albright "planned on participating despite remaining hospitalized after recent esophagus surgery."

Update: Public Broadcasting interviews Ted Olson, the former Bush Administration solicitor general who is now pressing the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling by the state justices on conflict-of-interest grounds. With audio.

Update II: AP reports on Wednesday's arguments before the state court in the dispute over the language of Huntington's residency ordinance for city employees.

02 September 2008

Covering the Republican National Convention

  • MetroNews Talkline is broadcasting daily from Minneapolis-St. Paul, and offers photos and audio along with interviews and other dispatches.
  • Political science professor Robert Rupp is again filling in as a special correspondent at the convention for The Intelligencer of Wheeling.

Health Care in West Virginia

West Virginia's attempt to improve the health of its residents on a statewide scale over the course of this decade "shows a gradual progress in many areas that add up to some good news," but "some of the plan's goals still seem unlikely to be met in the next year and a half," The Associated Press reports.

AP health care writer Tom Breen examines the objectives of the "West Virginia Healthy People 2010" initiative to gauge its progress so far. While obesity is actually down since 2000, and more residents are checking their cholesterol regularly and exercising more, "goals are far from being met in a wide range of other categories, including cigarette smoking, colorectal cancer screening and hypertension rates," Breen found.

The Charleston Gazette, meanwhile, cites a new study to report that "West Virginia has the second-highest percentage of children with chronic health problems in the nation, a troubling statistic that highlights the state's need to expand health coverage for kids."

01 September 2008

Quote of the Day

"He's a bully. He treats people terribly."

-- U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, regarding GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting John McCain, at the Labor Day rally at Racine as reported by The Associated Press.

(The West Virginia Democrat prefaced his lengthy attack on his Senate colleague by promising the Boone County crowd that "I will nail him, without mercy.")

Election 2008: Labor Day Roundup (Updated)

  • Labor Day marks the traditional start of fall campaigning in West Virginia, and The Associated Press (updated) was among those covering such events as the 70th annual United Mine Workers rally at Racine, Boone County.
  • AP also examines Barack Obama's fortunes in the Mountain State, in the wake of his historic nomination at last week's Democratic National Convention.
  • One of the Legislature's three black members tells The Register-Herald that "in West Virginia, race is a major handicap for Barack Obama in his quest to woo enough voters." The Beckley newspaper also hears from Gov. Joe Manchin on the subject.
  • All three candidates for two seats up this year on West Virginia's Supreme Court made their pitches to the state Chamber of Commerce at its annual meeting last week. AP has a report, as does The Register-Herald.
  • U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, has coal as the focus of her latest campaign ads, highlighted by the Charleston Daily Mail.
  • The Daily Mail has a separate item on third-party ads popping up in the Supreme Court and attorney general races.
  • (Update) WTRF-TV elicited some positive comments from Manchin regarding John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
  • (Update) Manchin's GOP opponent, former state Sen. Russ Weeks, is "critical of the state's role in the $800 million coal to liquid fuel plant CONSOL plans to build in Marshall County," MetroNews reports. With audio.

Driver Not Cited in Bike Mishap with W.Va. First Lady

West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin was briefly taken to a hospital Sunday after a vehicle struck her while she and her husband were bicycling near the state Capitol, The Associated Press reports.

The first lady was later released following the morning incident, and the vehicle's driver was not cited, AP reports.

West Virginia at the Republican National Convention

The state GOP has posted its roster of delegates and alternatives to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The convention web site also has a section for West Virginia, but it does not yet appear to list delegates or where they are seated at the Xcel Energy Center.

West Virginians also have yet to appear in the schedule of events for the convention. But that part of the site appears dated, as it lists speakers who have withdrawn amid concens over Hurricane Gustav.

The convention has posted a lengthy memo outlining changes prompted by Gustav.