Wetzel County Farmacy Program to Kick-off this Friday

The Free Press WV

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA), in conjunction with Wheeling Health Right and Food Justice Lab WVU, will kick off the first year of the FARMacy Program 11:00 a.m. this Friday, June 1st at the Wetzel County Hospital in New Martinsville. The program is encouraging patients to use produce in lieu of prescriptions for healthier outcomes. The program was started by PA-C Amanda Cummins and Dr. Carol Greco, to bring fresh, locally grown produce to rural communities.

“Providing fresher, healthier produce to our communities tackles two major issues,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “FARMacy helps address rising healthcare costs while decreasing the number of medicine being prescribed, as well as provide more opportunities to local farmers. This is a win-win for West Virginia.”

FARMacy, Wetzel County is managed by Holly Giovianazzo who is working with Jon and Lisa M. DuMars of the Garden Path, Grow Local Go Local and other farmers to provide locally grown produce, as well as diet and food instructions to patients. The goal is to help create healthier community members by reducing the risk or help control chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension. In addition, the project aims to educate patients on healthier foods and the importance of produce within patient diets.

“We have been working with five core farms in Wetzel and Tyler County since the Fall of 2017 in preparation of this program. The bonus is these farmers are working together to fill needs at a larger capacity and variety, as well as meet a prescribed demand,” said WVDA Business Development Planning Coordinator Kacey Gantzer. “Not only are we improving the health of our patients, we are providing a driver for the local economy.“

Giovianazzo will be working with local growers, securing the produce for each week, coordinating educational and promotional information and act as the liaison between Wheeling Health Right and producers. She will also oversee the distribution of produce to the 25 participants. Participants have set goals for weight loss, lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

For more information, please contact Holly Giovinazzo Wetzel County FARMacy Manager at 304.771.8482 or Dr. Carol Greco D.O. or Amanda Cummins PA-C at 304.233.9323.

Cause of fatal Doddridge explosion identified as Hydrocarbon Well Services-owned storage tanks

The Free Press WV

One person involved in Friday morning’s well pad explosion in Doddridge County has died, OSHA officials confirmed Tuesday.

A fire started around 10 a.m. Friday near West Union, causing burn injuries to four workers. Conditions on the other three injured in the incident are not known at this time.

Jake Glance, communications director of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said the fire did not occur on an active well pad but instead involved three above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) that had been decommissioned several years ago.

“The ASTs were taken to the site where the fire occurred,” Glance said. “Upon initial investigation it appears the tanks were owned by Hydrocarbon.”

Hydrocarbon Well Services is a Buckhannon-based oil and gas company that has serviced the Appalachian region for 35 years.

“The three ASTs were dragged down a dirt access road where they were being cleaned out,” Glance said. “The fire is believed to have occurred when the one active AST associated with this well was being cut up for scrap using a torch. They were decommissioning this active AST in order to replace it.”

Glance said Enviroclean was hired by Hydrocarbon for environmental remediation and that absorbent booms were placed in Cabin Run, a small stream next to the site of the fire, to prevent oil from leaving the site.

Additional booms were placed approximately 700 feet downstream and an underflow dam was installed approximately 100 feet downstream of the initial spill.

“It is uncertain how much oil entered the stream. There were no fish kill,” he said.

Soil remediation at the site was underway over the weekend.

WVDEP is working with local emergency officials and OSHA, who is conducting an investigation into the incident.

~~  Brittany Murray ~~


The Free Press WV

St. Joseph’s Hospital was one of only three hospitals in the state of West Virginia to receive the National Patient Safety Excellence Award from Healthgrades, the leading online resource for information about physicians and hospitals.

The Patient Safety Excellence Award recognizes hospitals that have the lowest occurrences of 14 preventable patient safety events.

This includes morbidity, mortality, and infection rates tracked by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

This award places St. Joseph’s Hospital in the top 10% of hospitals throughout the nation for patient safety.

This top 10% includes esteemed hospitals such as The Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and John Hopkins.

“Our staff places a tremendous focus on the quality of the care we provide to ensure our patients have an outstanding experience,” said Skip Gjolberg, Administrator. “We are very proud that this hard work is being recognized at a national level.

Finalists named for WV Scholar program

The Free Press WV

Finalists have been named for the 11th West Virginia Scholar program. Ten high school juniors are still in the running for a full-ride scholarship at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

There were 15 semi-finalists. The list was narrowed down following video interviews.

The 10 finalists are:

Elysia Cain Liberty High School

Courtney Gray Grafton High School

Sarah Heilman Wheeling Park High School

Jackson Johnson George Washington High School

Cole Kleppner Musselman High School

Lydia Knutsen John Marshall High School

Katherine Marks Brooke High School

Easton Perry Ripley High School

ShaiAnne Williams Webster County High School

Bailey Withrow Greenbrier East High School

Online voting at will begin Wednesday, May 30th and continue through Friday, June 15th. The scholarship winner will be announced June 21 at the 2018 WV Scholar Awards Luncheon at West Virginia Wesleyan.

The winner will receive a full-ride scholarship at Wesleyan valued at $160,000. Other scholarships will also be awarded.

The West Virginia Scholar program is a partnership between MetroNews and West Virginia Wesleyan. Other sponsors include West Virginia Hospital Association, ZMM Architects, Friends of Coal, West Virginia Forestry Association, Architectural Interior Products, INC, RBC Wealth Management, West Virginia Farm Bureau and KOMAX Business Systems.

WV Homeland Security can’t account for trailers, vehicle, water pumps, radios

The Free Press WV

State officials have been trying to make sure the Department of Homeland Security can find all its equipment.

A Legislative Audit published this past week shows that the agency hasn’t been able to account for $254,000 in trailers. The most expensive of those is a Pepro Trailer valued at $113,075.

The agency also is responsible for a utility task vehicle valued at $8,999 that can’t be found.

“Additionally, the Legislative Auditor was informed that assets of considerable value have been loaned out to other state agencies in the past,” the audit stated.

“However, due to the lack of inventory management over the years, Homeland Security is currently unable to locate or account for these items.”

And the agency indicated it has items located in remote locations that haven’t been inventoried. Those include items such as water pumps, valued at about $1,500 each, or radio equipment.

“The Legislative Auditor concludes that this is problematic not only because the Division uses millions of dollars in state and federal funds to purchase items, but also because the federal government gives the Division items of considerable value to be used to carry out its mission,” the audit stated.

“Despite this, no effort has been made in recent years to account for these assets and protect them against theft or misuse.”

The agency says it knows it has a problem.

“We recognize the significance of the asset problem and have and are taking major steps to correct this issue,” Homeland Security officials wrote in a response.

The problem is that the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management hasn’t put adequate controls in place to keep track of its equipment, the Legislative Auditor concluded.

Early this year, it dawned on Homeland Security officials that the division’s inventory was not updated or accurate, according to the audit.

A minimal number of fixed assets had been inventoried from 2013 to 2018. And it had been several years since the last physical inventory and reconciliation.

The agency gave a few reasons for its inattentiveness.

Previously, the agency did not have a section or a particular person with the specific responsibility of asset management.

“Rather, the finance and accounting manager was given the responsibility of asset management, and previous individuals in that position did not place much emphasis on it,” the audit stated.

The agency also indicated that when it transitioned to the wvOasis system, there was not much effort toward ensuring a smooth transition for asset management.

To improve, Homeland Security hired a part-time, temporary employee on Jan. 8 to make sure the agency has all its stuff.

The employee was trained at Surplus Property and started putting together an updated inventory, according to the audit. The worker is conducting walkthroughs of agency facilities, listing the assets and then having them entered into wvOasis.

That process is how the agency discovered nine camping and box trailers that had been on its asset list could not be located.
Roman Prezioso

The missing trailers drew the focus of Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso as he listened to the audit results during interim meetings.

“Where do you think these trailers are? How can they come up missing?” Prezioso asked.

The director for Homeland Security, Jimmy Gianato, responded that the trailers were provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2001.

Back then, Gianato said, they were distributed across the state to counties, state agencies and non-profits. At some point, he said, the trailers were titled to the Office of Emergency Services.

“We have been vigorously trying to locate all of those, and these are the ones we still have to locate,” Gianato said.

“Some have been destroyed, the roofs have started to leak, the insides have rotted out and they’ve been surplused. If you can imagine, a cheap FEMA trailer in 2001 and now we’re at 2017 — a lot of the counties after determining no more use instead of returning them they just disposed of them.”

Homeland Security has developed a corrective action plan with target dates to resolve its issues.

Those included meetings with all staff to emphasize a culture of keeping track of property, a review of agency policies to be completed by the end of this month and dedicating some employees to tracking property.

Jeff Sandy, the secretary for the Division of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said he wants to take on a broad-based effort to keep track of materials.

“One of our weaknesses we have is separation of duties,” Sandy said.

“There will be a separate entity — Division of Administrative Services — that will do the inventories, which will make sure the money is spent properly and individuals — not to say anything about Jimmy — but Jimmy and other individuals will have that separation from that, so they know that when an employee orders something or has something that needs to be on an inventory an independent person that can be uninfluenced is handling that.”

~~  Brad McElhinny ~~

Governor Justice’s Suburban rear-ended

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Suburban was rear-ended Saturday by another vehicle while sitting at a stop light in the Beckley area.

The Governor and First Lady Cathy Justice were stopped at an intersection when the accident occurred. The Justices had just departed Sunset Memorial Park where they had placed flowers on the graves of their parents.

They are being monitored for injuries but were not taken for medical treatment at the time.

“I hate like crazy that this happened but in some ways I’m glad he hit me because if the driver had not hit our Suburban, at the rate of speed he was going on the wet, slick roads, he probably would have traveled through the intersection and broadsided another vehicle. Fortunately for all this could have been a tragedy, but this is a far better outcome.”

The Governor’s State Police security detail was accompanying him and reacted quickly to stabilize the situation until Beckley City Police could arrive to investigate. The driver was arrested at the scene and it is believed that drugs and or alcohol were a contributing factor in this crash.

The Beckley detachment of the State Police also assisted at the accident scene.

“Cathy and I are thankful for the quick reaction of the State Police security and the Beckley City Police.”

For further information regarding the investigation of the accident contact Beckley City Police.

Mine Issued Violation Notices in Bulldozer Driver’s Death

The Free Press WV

A mine in West Virginia has been issued three violation notices over the death of a man in a bulldozer that plunged 100 feet when the ground underneath gave way.

The state’s Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety reviewed the death of 34-year-old Thurman Watts at a meeting Wednesday in Beckley.

The state said Watts drove the bulldozer too close to a precipice on Dec. 29.

The state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training issued the violation notices to Revelation Energy LLC, the company that owns S7 Surface Mine.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration said safe work practices weren’t followed, that ground conditions were irregular and that operators must have control of mobile equipment.

West Virginia city without police force seeks applicants

The Free Press WV

A city in West Virginia whose last officer and police chief resigned last month without explanation is seeking applicants.

The Dominion Post quotes Interim Kingwood Police Chief Jim Fields as saying Tuesday that applications are coming in a lot slower than expected.

Fields, who appointed interim chief after the resignations, says the agency has a reputation for frequent turnover.

He says the ad for applicants wasn’t released until last week.

Applications will be accepted until May 31.

Fields says he’ll have at least two applications for the Kingwood City Council to review next month.

West Virginia man accused of wrongfully shooting bear

The Free Press WV

The state of West Virginia says a man had no right to bear arms against a black bear that wandered onto his property in Boone County.

West Virginia Natural Resources Police charged the man with killing a black bear out of season and shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling.

Agency Capt. Terry Ballard says people are allowed to defend themselves from an attack, but safety isn’t believed to have been a factor in this case. He says the agency has enough evidence to provide the man wasn’t in danger.

Ballard says bears “don’t want to come around people’s houses and they’re certainly not coming there to eat your kids.“

05.26.2018 NewsWest Virginia

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Officials to study feasibility of aviation school

The Free Press WV

Yeager Airport and Marshall University are looking at the possibility of developing an aviation school in West Virginia.

The airport’s board voted Wednesday to sign a memorandum of understanding with Marshall University to determine the feasibility and sustainability of adding the school at Yeager. Marshall spokeswoman Ginny Painter said Thursday that the school had not yet signed the memorandum.

Officials plan to study the issue over the next 12 months. If they decide to move forward, Yeager Executive Director Terry Sayre said the aviation school would be located adjacent to the east end of a now-closed runway that had primarily served smaller aircraft.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for us,“ Sayre said. “We needed to do something about bringing jobs to the area. People who are trained here can work at airports across the state. There’s a national shortage of pilots and aircraft mechanics.“

If approved, the school and its curriculum would be developed through Marshall’s Robert C. Byrd Institute of Advanced and Flexible Manufacturing, its Appalachian Transportation Institute, its College of Education and Professional Development and its College of Information Technology and Engineering.

It could offer fields of study that include pilot training, aeronautical science, aviation maintenance and air traffic control.

Death Suspected from West Virginia Hepatitis A Outbreak

The Free Press WV

Health officials in West Virginia are reporting the first death in Kanawha County suspected to be related to an outbreak of hepatitis A.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says in a news release that department officials spoke with a relative who confirmed Wednesday’s death. The statement did not disclose the cause of death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by a virus. It is usually transmitted person-to-person or by consuming contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice.

The state Bureau for Public Health reports 106 confirmed or suspected cases of hepatitis A in eight counties.

On Wednesday health officials urged hepatitis A vaccinations for restaurant and food service employees in Kanawha and Putnam counties.

Settlements from 2014 Freedom Industries Spill Not Ready to Be Paid Out

The Free Press WV

A lawyer for West Virginia residents affected by a 2014 chemical spill says they will not receive settlements until a judge’s final approval, and administrators finish processing the over 95,000 claims.

Attorney Anthony Majestro says no one will be paid without U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr.‘s order.

The $151 million class-action settlement covered anyone who may have received tap water from West Virginia American Water Company’s Elk River intake plant or businesses that suffered from the spill at Freedom Industries. An estimated 300,000 people were without water for days.

The lawsuit says West Virginia American didn’t react to or prepare for the spill, and Eastman Chemical Co. didn’t properly warn Freedom about the chemical’s dangers or take appropriate action.

Freedom has admitted to criminal violations.

Shots for food workers urged in 2 West Virginia counties

The Free Press WV

Health officials are urging hepatitis A vaccinations for restaurant and food service employees in two West Virginia counties.

The Bureau for Public Health made the recommendation Wednesday for such employees in Kanawha and Putnam counties.

Eight food establishments in Kanawha, Putnam and Cabell counties have been identified as having a worker confirmed with hepatitis A. The bureau says in a statement that in each of those instances, a history of drug use was identified in an employee. No customers have become sick and state health officer Dr. Rahul Gupta says the risk of hepatitis A transmission to the general public remains low.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, nausea and vomiting.

The statement says three vaccination clinics for hepatitis A have been scheduled, including Friday at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.

West Virginia Lottery revenue continued to increase in April

The Free Press WV

West Virginia Lottery revenue continued to increase in April, as more money spent on video lottery and traditional online and scratch-off games had offset declining revenue at racetrack casinos.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports traditional lottery sales are up 7 percent this budget year, while limited video lottery at bars, clubs and fraternal organizations are up 5 percent over the same point last year.

Lottery Director Alan Larrick said after a Lottery Commission meeting Tuesday the $10 million growth in traditional lottery sales, and $15 million growth in video lottery, helped offset a 4 percent decline in revenue from casino video slots and a 10 percent decline in table games revenues.

Larrick hopes the Supreme Court’s overturning of a federal law banning sports betting will reverse the decline at racetrack casinos.

Skip the scarecrow: Dog to chase birds from airport

The Free Press WV

A dog will be making his home at a West Virginia airport, while preventing birds from doing the same.

WSAZ-TV reported Monday that Flyaway Greg will help keep birds from nesting and potentially becoming a hazard to aircraft at Charleston’s Yeager Airport. A statement from the airport says he will be on loan until another dog named Hercules is fully trained and delivered.

The airport has partnered with Flyaway Geese on the humane way to curb wildlife. The project is approved by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Greg is expected to be there for a few months and can be followed @crwhercules on Instagram.

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