The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 6, 2012

WV news briefs

The Associated Press

230 received shots of recalled steroid in W.Va.

PARKERSBURG (AP) — West Virginia public health officials say 230 patients at a pain clinic in Parkersburg received injections of a back pain medicine that is at the center of a meningitis outbreak.

The state says the patients were treated at Pars Pain Clinic.

Dr. Marian Swinker of the state Bureau for Public Health has said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had contacted the clinic to ensure that the patients who received the possibly tainted steroid injections are informed.

Officials have been advising patients who received the injections to contact their physician if they are suffering from any symptoms related to meningitis.

West Virginia has no reported cases from the outbreak.

Nationwide, five people have died and more than 40 others have fallen ill.

Absentee ballots trickling in; nearly 6,900 sought

Nearly 2,000 West Virginians have already made their choices for the Nov. 6 general election.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant reports that voters have cast just over 1,800 absentee ballots.

County clerks began mailing the absentee ballots Sept. 21. Nearly 6,900 have been requested by voters.

Of the 1,826 returned so far, just over half came from Democrats. Republicans cast nearly 40 percent, a portion larger than the GOP’s share of state voters.

Eligible residents have until Oct. 16 to register to vote if they haven’t already. More than 1.2 million West Virginians are on the voter rolls.

Early in-person voting begins Oct. 24 and lasts until Nov. 3. The early voting period includes both Saturdays during that time, but not Sunday.


Regional airport lands new charter jet service

Buckhannon Upshur Regional Airport will soon have its first chartered jet service.

Mountain Air Services will let travelers fly on their schedules, rather than an airline’s, to their chosen destination.

WBOY says flights will begin in December.

Owner Dave McWhorter says he has the airplanes, the pilots and a mechanic, so he thought a charter service would be a good idea. The company started in 2001, doing mainly aerial image collection of the forest industry.

Mountain Air has several turbo props and a Citation 5, the first jet based at the airport. It will have two pilots and can seat up to eight passengers.

McWhorter says people want more convenient ways to travel these days, and charter flights offer that.

Century, utility are weighing state smelter plant rate ruling

CHARLESTON (AP) — Century Aluminum says it’s reviewing a plan offered by West Virginia regulators as part of the quest to restart Century’s Jackson County smelter.

The state Public Service Commission ruled Thursday Century’s Ravenswood plant could pay a special rate for electricity for up to 10 years. That rate would hinge on aluminum prices.

But Century would ultimately remain on the hook for the actual energy costs.

Stronger aluminum prices would make it much easier for Century to cover those costs.

Appalachian Power would provide the electricity. Utility officials say they’re still reviewing the decision, but consider its approach a reasonable plan of action.

Both companies commented Friday.

The smelter shut down in 2009, throwing more than 650 people out of work. Retirees later lost their health benefits.