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In West Virginia….

The Free Press WV

►  West Virginia records 4th mining death of 2017

A southern West Virginia coal miner died in a mining accident late Thursday night in Wyoming County, authorities said.

According to the state Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, Luches Rosser, 44, of Man, was killed at Seneca Coal Company’s Pinnacle Mine near Pineville while operating a DC Trolley tracked locomotive. The underground accident happened at 11:10 p.m. He was employed as a shuttle car operator at the mine.

Rosser was a member of UMWA Local Union 1713, UMWA President Cecil Roberts said.

“The hearts and prayers of the entire UMWA family are with the family of our brother,” Roberts said in a prepared statement. “Our Local Union and International safety representatives are at the mine now, participating in the investigation of this incident. We stand ready to assist Brother Rosser’s family in any way we can.”

Seneca spokesman George Mickum said the company is cooperating with state and federal investigators.

“Keep the Rosser family in their prayers during this most difficult time,” the company statement said.

News of the fourth recorded mining death this year in West Virginia also reached the House of Delegates Friday.

“He graduated from Man High School and had three kids,” shared Wyoming County Delegate Tony Paynter during remarks at the beginning at the House floor session Friday. “These guys put it on the line every night for our families and to give us electricity and provide for the state and the world. They don’t get much respect, it’s a thankless job.”

Delegates observed a moment of silence.

“No matter how safe we try to make it, this is always going to be a dangerous job,” Paynter said.

Governor Jim Justice released the following statement:

“Cathy and I are praying for the family and friends of the coal miner who lost his life last night in Wyoming County. It’s never easy to see someone so young leave us and it breaks my heart when West Virginia loses a member of the coal community. I spent many years of my childhood in Wyoming County and my roots are deep there. Great coal mining families always come together, and that’s what we have to do at this time.”

The Pinnacle Mine was acquired by Seneca Coal Resources an affiliate of ERP Compliant Fuels in December 2015.


►  Statement from Governor on Mining Accident in Wyoming County

Governor Jim Justice released the following statement:

Cathy and I are praying for the family and friends of the coal miner who lost his life last night in Wyoming County. It’s never easy to see someone so young leave us and it breaks my heart when West Virginia loses a member of the coal community.  I spent many years of my childhood in Wyoming County and my roots are deep there. Great coal mining families always come together, and that’s what we have to do at this time.


►  West Virginia Board of Education Limits Public Comments

West Virginia Board of Education members received pushback over their meeting agendas’ newly stated ban that prohibits members of the public from speaking on items not listed on the agenda.

The ban was discussed Wednesday. It initially appeared on last month’s agenda.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee says as they travel across the state they see many things that aren’t on the agenda but need immediate attention.

Board President Tom Campbell says he wants to remove the ban on future agendas, although he may restrict the number of speakers who represent the same position.


►  West Virginia House backs alternative tax overhaul

West Virginia’s Republican-controlled House has adopted alternative legislation to cut state income taxes on military pensions and Social Security benefits and increase the personal exemption for incomes below $100,000.

The legislation approved 74-17 on Friday would extend the state’s 6 percent sales tax to cell phone and some other services.

It’s projected to raise about $100 million to help close the state government’s budget deficit.

It differs sharply from legislation pushed by Democratic Governor Jim Justice and approved by the Republican-controlled Senate to cut all income tax rates by 20 percent and exempt military pensions.

That bill would broaden the sales tax and raise it to 6.95 percent and increase the net corporate income tax from 6.5 to 7.5 percent.

Both houses are scheduled to return next week.


►  West Virginia House votes to fund ‘essential’ services

West Virginia’s House has passed legislation that would fund state government services and personnel considered “essential” and protect the benefits of other state workers who would be furloughed if the new fiscal year starts July 1 with no budget adopted.

The House, voting 82-2, would fund essential personnel from unspent funds in existing government accounts.

State Police who patrol or investigate crimes would keep working, as well as jail guards, state hospital employees, highway emergency personnel and some other law enforcement staff.

State agencies and departments would designate other essential workers and others considered non-essential.

The Republican-controlled House and Democratic Governor Jim Justice have been unable to resolve budget differences over taxes, spending and closing a projected $500 million deficit in the coming year.

What do you get when nepotism controls politics?
Answer: A state named West Virginia that rates 50th in nearly all measures.

What do you get when nepotism and friendship rule the state legislature?
Answer: A state named West Virginia that the legislature cannot accomplish a simple task such as creating a state budget.

West Virginia does not have to be 50th in everything.  West Virginia is 50th because we keep electing the same old, failed, flunkies, with the same family names and ties.

Shame on us, as well as the flunkie office holders

Comment by sad sack legislators  on  05.20.2017

You don’t have to go to the WV Legislature to see nepotism and conflicts of interest.

They are everywhere. In our court houses, in our school systems, state, county and city government, and on and on. All levels no exceptions.

Right here in Gilmer County you betcha and it has been that way for decades.

Too much based on who you are tied to and what is in it for them.

It is a WV epidemic like the opioid blight.

Comment by Gilmer County Gets Blue Ribbon  on  05.21.2017
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