The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News


January 2, 2014

Audit findings turned over to feds

Ag Department activities prior to 2013 under scrutiny

A typical audit request by a newly-elected state official has led to a federal investigation.

Activities in the Department of Agriculture prior to 2013 are the subject of that audit, which Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, and Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, have turned over to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Miley said current Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick asked for the audit shortly after taking office last year.

“To date, the audit has revealed very troubling activities and management practices by the Agriculture Department’s previous administration, including questionable accounting methods, expense reimbursements and loans administered by the agency,” Miley said in the release.

In an e-mail response, Helmick confirmed that he requested the audit, and that he supports the decision to turn over the audit findings to federal authorities.

“We have recently been made aware that some accounting and management practices from the previous administration have been called into question and that Senate President Jeff Kessler and House Speaker Tim Miley have requested that those findings be turned over to the U.S. Attorney,” Helmick said.

Helmick also said he intends to “do whatever is needed to assist in this investigation.”

Miley and Kessler ordered the legislative auditor to turn the information over to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

 “Neither President Kessler, Commissioner Helmick nor I tolerate any activities that lack integrity or violate the public trust. We will continue to provide law enforcement with any information necessary to assist in its investigation,” Miley said.

 “Meanwhile, as we await completion of the audit, President Kessler and I will be working with Commissioner Helmick to facilitate any legislative changes necessary to ensure greater accountability and to tighten statutory controls over the activities identified in the audit."

 Previous Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass was first elected to the office in 1964, and served non-consecutive terms through 2012.

— E-mail:

Text Only
  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    Alpha Natural Resources said Thursday it expects to lay off 1,100 workers at 11 southern West Virginia surface coal mines by mid-October, citing dismal markets and federal regulation.

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output.

    It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.


    July 31, 2014

  • Tractor-trailer fire engulfs East River Tunnel in cloud of black smoke

    East River Mountain Tunnel near Bluefield was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel.

    July 25, 2014

  • Davey Jude wins 34th BNI Memorial Tournament, sponsored by First Community Bank

    Davey Jude held off defending champion Brandon Reece to win the 34th BNI Memorial Tournament, sponsored by First Community Bank, Monday on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.

    July 14, 2014

  • Fayette County man arrested, charged with murder

    The Raleigh County Sheriff's Office has charged a Fayette County man with murder in the death of Glenn L. Farrow, according to a press release.

    June 18, 2014 1 Story

  • Crookshanks, Lobban indicted for misappropriating funds

    June 12, 2014

  • UPDATE: Fayette couple charged in death of two infants

    The parents of two Fayette County children who were reported dead inside their home March 11 were arrested Wednesday on charges that they negligently used drugs and alcohol and then slept with their children, causing the two victims’ death by suffocation.

    June 11, 2014 1 Story

  • Susman resigns Raleigh Board of Education seat

    Raleigh County Board of Education member Sally Susman announced her resignation Tuesday in a letter that was to be e-mailed to BOE President Rick Snuffer, according to her son, Tom Susman.

    June 3, 2014

  • UPDATE: Two killed at Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County

    Two workers died after they were trapped as the ground failed at a West Virginia coal mine with a history of safety violations, federal and state officials said Tuesday.
    The ground failure occurred just about 8:45 p.m. Monday, trapping the workers, safety agency officials told The Associated Press in emails. The miners’ bodies were recovered, and safety personnel were on the site of Brody Mine No. 1 in Boone County, about 50 miles south of Charleston.

    May 13, 2014

  • Skeletal remains found in Bud identified as missing woman

    Officials said that the remains of a woman found in a shallow grave near the border of Wyoming and Mercer counties are those of Theresa Ford, who had been missing for nearly a year.

    April 25, 2014

  • Dan D’Antoni will be next Marshall men's basketball coach

    Dan D’Antoni will be named the new head men’s basketball coach at Marshall, a source with direct knowledge of the hiring confirmed to The Register-Herald on Thursday.

    April 24, 2014