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SPENCER — Two people died in a West Virginia house fire as bystanders rushed in to pull people out. 

The fire early Saturday morning in Roane County was reported by a neighbor and an off-duty sheriff’s deputy. The two bystanders were able to open the front door and get a man and woman out of the home, news sources reported.

West Virginia Deputy State Fire Marshal Jason Baltic said the male victim pulled from the home later died. Crews found another male victim in the fire debris.

The female victim was transported to a burn center in Cabell County.

“For her to still be here is on those guys,’’ Baltic said. “I mean, they were able to get her out of harm’s way.’’

Baltic said there were no working smoke detectors in the residence.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

Justices hearing

cases virtually for law school students

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CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Supreme Court won’t be making its annual trip to the West Virginia University College of Law in Morgantown this year as a result of COVID-19, but the special docket of cases will be heard virtually.

The school and the court have made arrangements to allow students and the public to watch the arguments online, Chief Justice Evan Jenkins said in a news release.

“We will miss being on campus next week and the opportunity to meet in person with the students, but the Justices are committed to continuing our outreach efforts even in a COVID environment,” Jenkins said.

Documents for the cases have been posted online. The arguments will be streamed March 23 on the court’s YouTube channel through a link on the West Virginia judiciary website.

The court also will judge the finals of the Baker Cup Moot Court appellate advocacy competition at 1 p.m. The final competition will also be livestreamed.

 

Mother, child health services receive $1.5 million

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 CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will receive more than $1.5 million from the federal government for maternal and child health services in the state.

West Virginia’s two U.S. senators, Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Shelley Moore Capito, announced the funds this week.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional strain on our mothers, children, and young families in West Virginia,” Capito said in a news release. “Grants like these are incredibly important because they provide much-needed support for maternal and child health services within our state’s health department.’’

Manchin said mothers and children in West Virginia deserve quality health care that is affordable.

“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that mothers and children can receive the health support they need,’’ he said.

 

State extends tax

filing deadline to May 17

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CHARLESTON — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has extended the deadline for residents to file their state income taxes for the second straight year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Justice announced last week that the deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17. On Wednesday the federal tax filing deadline also was moved to the same date.

The governor’s office said the move does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15 by people whose income isn’t subject to income tax withholding. This includes self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony or rental income. Most employers automatically withhold taxes from employees’ paychecks and submit them to the state Tax Department.

Last year’s state and federal tax deadlines were moved to July 15.

 

West Virginia

to get $2.4 million

in federal HIV

prevention funding

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CHARLESTON — West Virginia will receive nearly $2.4 million from the federal government to fund HIV prevention and treatment. The state is wrestling with one of the nation’s highest spikes in HIV cases related to intravenous drug use.

The surge, clustered primarily around the capital of Charleston and the city of Huntington, is being attributed at least in part to the 2018 cancellation of a needle exchange program that offered clean syringes to injection drug users not able to quit the habit altogether.

The state’s U.S. senators, Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Shelley Moore Capito, announced the new funding on Thursday.

“Every West Virginian has felt the impacts of the drug epidemic on our communities, which has caused an increase in infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS,’’ Manchin said in a news release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has also made it more difficult for many West Virginians to seek the medical care they need.’’

 

Justice: Exempt some jobless benefits

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CHARLESTON —Gov. Jim Justice has proposed exempting the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits received in 2020 from the state income tax.

The Republican governor’s legislation before lawmakers would apply to nearly $1.36 billion in unemployment payments, according to his office. Over 197,000 people in West Virginia received some amount of unemployment aid in 2020.

“Some other states are requiring their people to pay taxes on the unemployment they received as a result of the pandemic,” Justice said. “We’re not going to do that in West Virginia. We need to stand rock solid with all of our fellow West Virginians who had to endure some really tough times over the past year.”

 

Lawmaker tests

positive

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CHARLESTON — A member of the West Virginia House of Delegates has contracted the coronavirus and is under quarantine, a House leader said.

Raleigh County Republican Brandon Steele tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, House Majority leader Amy Summers said in a statement. Steele chairs the House Government Organization Committee.

Steele addressed legislation in the packed House chambers without a mask on Friday. Delegates are allowed to remove their masks when recognized to speak.

Virus testing is being offered at the state Capitol.

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