Thumbs down ... to the tragic fact that West Virginia led the nation in coal deaths in 2012, accounting for seven of the 19 miners killed on the job in U.S. coal mines, preliminary federal figures show. Kentucky had four coal mining deaths, followed by Alabama with two. Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia each reported one death, according to the figures from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Thumbs down ... to the grim news that on-the-job incidents killed 43 workers in West Virginia in 2011. Eighteen West Virginia workers suffered fatal injuries in transportation incidents in 2011, including 12 deaths in highway incidents. Eleven workers died after they were struck by an object or equipment. These two categories accounted for two-thirds of all workplace fatalities. Other causes included falls and exposure to harmful substances or environments. There also were two homicides.
Thumbs up ... to the Marshall University Foundation receiving a $20,000 gift from Alpha Natural Resources. Officials say the money will be used to support engineering majors in the College of Information Technology and Engineering. The fund was originally established in 2009 as the Massey Energy Scholarship for Engineering with a five-year pledge of $100,000.
Thumbs up ... to Oak Hill Tractor Supply Company store, recognized for winning the Paper Clover “District Champion” award for being the store with the highest transaction percentage in the district during the recent Paper Clover Promotions. The program is an in-store fundraiser that benefits 4-H programming in the communities where a store is located. The Oak Hill location raised $270 through the $1 paper clovers.
Thumbs up ... to the state’s highlighting its 150th birthday in a new travel guide. The 2013 West Virginia state travel guide is available free at welcome centers across the state. The guide also includes a Scout’s guide to family fun to welcome Boy Scouts of America and their families to the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in 2013. It lists shopping and dining opportunities, outdoor recreation, lodging options and culture and history events.
Thumbs up ... to a longtime mine inspector and safety official who will now head such efforts in West Virginia. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Eugene White as director for the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training. White most recently has been the agency’s acting deputy director. He’s been with the agency since 2001. He’s also served on the state’s mine emergency team.
Thumbs up ... to a $300,000 U.S Department of Labor grant to help cleanup and recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy. WorkForce West Virginia will use the funds for temporary jobs for dislocated workers in 18 counties. From this region, Fayette, Nicholas, Raleigh and Wyoming were declared eligible by FEMA.