The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Breaking News

Latest News

March 6, 2013

Epling annexation approved swiftly without controversy

For all the turmoil that accompanied it at the outset, the annexation of property owned by Raleigh County Commissioner Linda Epling and her husband gained approval Tuesday without as much as a murmur.

In fact, Commissioner Pat Reed, who initially balked at offering a motion on the issue last month, took the initiative, and from there the commission agreed to the annexation, with Epling abstaining.

The brouhaha hit a boiling point two weeks ago when Doug Epling, husband of the new Republican commissioner, publicly berated Reed, the lone Democrat on the body, claiming that she had engaged in “blatant lies” about the couple after the first attempt on the annexation fizzled.

Property owned by the Eplings in Maxwell Hill was considered a “doughnut,” meaning it lies outside the city of Beckley, so the couple asked the city council to be included, and the request was granted.

Afterward, Linda Epling said she was pleased with the outcome of the annexation and suggested there were no ill feelings between her and Reed.

“I have no animosity at all, not at all,” she said.

“We just have a job to do. We need to get it done and do the best things for Raleigh County. That’s why we’re here.”

When the annexation originally appeared before the commission, Reed said that some residents in Maxwell Hill had voiced some concerns about it and that is why she was reluctant to offer a motion for a vote by the commission.

“Inquiries have been satisfied, so there was no reason at this point not to make the motion,” she explained Tuesday.

Reading from typed pages two weeks ago, Doug Epling charged that Reed had demeaned his family in a fight over Clarksburg consultant Michael Queen’s Freedom of Information Act requests to see overtime vouchers for county employees. Eventually, the requested documents were turned over to Queen in a job that cost some $8,000 worth of overtime.

Queen appeared before the commission during its last meeting in February and filed another FOIA request, asking for the Top 10 overtime payments to those on the county payroll.

In his remarks, Doug Epling had demanded a public apology from Reed, but none was given. The commissioner merely said “no comment.”

Linda Epling was running for the commission last year when Queen launched his campaign to look at overtime pay. She won the seat by defeating Democratic candidate Sherrie Hunter.

Under state law, the commission actually has no choice but to approve annexation moves sent to it by municipalities, in what the Supreme Court has described as “a rubber stamp” formality. Just why they must go before a commission is unclear.

“We’ve always asked that question, because the law says it has to come here,” county attorney Bill Roop said.

Several years ago, the commission locked horns with the town of Mabscott over a disputed annexation petition and ultimately prevailed when the county successfully challenged signatures on the petition.

— E-mail:

Text Only
Latest News
  • 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

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014

  • VA Greenbrier clinic to remain closed

    The Department of Veterans Affairs Greenbrier County Community Based Outpatient Clinic will remain closed due to ongoing correction of environmental concerns. 

    July 31, 2014

  • prezarrested.jpg Protesters arrested at UMWA Rally in Pittsburgh

    After marching from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the William S. Moorehead Federal Building in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, around 15 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) leaders were arrested.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Mercer shooting sends one to hospital

     One person has been shot following an apparent altercation in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    July 31, 2014

  • UMWA1.jpg More than 5,000 protesting new EPA rules at rally

    Today, 73 buses will bring miners and UMW members to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a labor rally and march through downtown Pittsburgh.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Kroger restricts pseudoephedrine sales in state

    Supermarket chain Kroger is tightening monthly purchase limits of cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine at its West Virginia stores.

    July 31, 2014

  • ‘Biscuit guy’ makes his mark with anthem at TWV

    The old saying “being at the right place at the right time” couldn’t be more true for Calvin Alexander. Thanks to a salad dressing bottle (and some impressive vocal skills), Alexander was invited to sing the national anthem not once, but twice, at Theatre West Virginia before the opening of “Hatfields and McCoys."

    July 31, 2014

  • legion American Legion posts plan to merge

    To help deal with its decreasing membership numbers, Beckley American Legion Post 70 is planning a merger with Post 32. INCLUDES TOUT VIDEO.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • legal Tort reform group brings message to Beckley

    How can West Virginia create more jobs and have a better business climate, at no cost to taxpayers? Greg Thomas, executive director of the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA), says legal reform is one of the answers to that question.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo