www.charlestondailymail.com Business http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Reading online? Go out and get a Thanksgiving newspaper for the value http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/DM05/141129456 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/DM05/141129456 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:27:47 -0500 By Jared Hunt The turkey won't be the only thing stuffed this Thanksgiving; your newspaper will be too.

Stuffed with bargains, that is.

This year's Thanksgiving Day newspaper will once again be chock full of inserts advertising retailers' deals for Black Friday, the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season.

That means carriers will be delivering a hefty paper to doorsteps and newsstands.

"We're looking at about a 4-pound paper" said Jim Heady, circulation director for Charleston Newspapers.

There will be 41 inserts in this year's paper, featuring a combined total of 876 pages of Black Friday ads.

Oh, and there's a newspaper too.

With 44 pages of news, sports, features and classifieds, that brings the total page count for the Thursday paper to 920.

Because of the bulk of Thursday's paper, it will cost the same as a typical Sunday edition. At a rack price of $2, that equates to a cost of about 0.22 cents a page.

The volume of inserts presents a challenge for press and circulation staff tasked with putting together and distributing the paper.

To help accommodate this and simplify the production process, management for the Charleston Daily Mail and Charleston Gazette have decided to put out a special, combined Thursday Gazette-Mail edition of the paper.

Reporters and editorial writers from both daily newspapers will contribute content to the combined edition.

"In addition to enormous value in advertisements alone, the combined Thursday newspaper will feature the best ingredients of both the Daily Mail and the Gazette - including news, sports and features from both staffs, two editorial pages and combined comics," said Daily Mail editor Brad McElhinny.

Heady said the combined paper will help circulation staff deliver papers sooner.

"We'll have these papers out in many convenience stores by about 11 o'clock (Wednesday) evening," Heady said.

Eager customers will also be able to get papers earlier than that if they want.

Charleston Newspapers employees will also be outside the newspapers' building, located at 1001 Virginia Street East in downtown Charleston, beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday to sell freshly printed papers to customers who'd rather not wait until Thursday morning. (Black Friday sales do begin at some locations, such as Kmart and Big Lots, as early as 6 and 7 a.m. Thursday.)

"We'll be selling the paper out front here as soon as they start coming off the press," Heady said. "If somebody wants to come down and purchase them we'll sell them right out along the curb. They won't even have to get out of their cars."

Curbside sales will last until 1 a.m. Thursday morning.

Any subscribers who experience delivery issues Thursday morning can call Charleston Newspapers' customer service line at 304-348-4800. Heady said staff would be available on the holiday to assist customers. He said carriers will be available to re-deliver papers in the Charleston area through 10 a.m., should any customers wake up and find their newspaper not on their doorstep.

Heady also said drivers will deliver extra copies of the Thanksgiving Day paper to retail outlets across the state in order to meet the anticipated extra demand.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.

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Police warn holiday shoppers of thieves http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/DM02/141129462 DM02 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/DM02/141129462 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:07:32 -0500 By Ashley B. Craig Police are reminding shoppers to take care while hunting for bargains because thieves could be hunting their next target.

The holiday shopping season is approaching, and while some forecasters predict Black Friday to be crushed by Cyber Monday this year, brick and mortar stores still are expecting shoppers to turn out in droves for bargains and deals. Unfortunately, so are thieves.

Thieves are waiting for shoppers to turn their attention away from their belongings so that they can strike. Cellphones, wallets, purses, new purchases - none are safe, police said.

Lt. Steve Cooper, Charleston chief of detectives, tracks the thefts back to drugs. He said the rise in heroin usage has led to an increase in vehicle break-ins with thieves taking items to trade or sell for drugs.

"A lot of the suspects we've arrested for these crimes are heroin addicts," he said. "Withdrawal from that particular drug is pretty brutal. There's a higher level of desperation among these thieves."

He said there are two easy ways to avoid becoming a victim: lock car doors and put valuables out of sight. Stowing valuables in the trunk while shopping keeps them out of sight.

Cooper said a lot of thieves try door handles looking for unlocked vehicles because breaking a window calls unwanted attention to them, but they aren't above breaking the glass to get what they want.

The best way shoppers can protect themselves is by paying attention to their surroundings.

South Charleston police saw a rash of purses being stolen from shopping carts around last year's holidays, said Bob Houck, South Charleston's assistant chief.

"People should be keeping a close eye on their belongings and their purses," Houck said. "We saw a trend last year of people leaving their purses in their buggies when they were loading things into their cars. They didn't notice until they got home that their purse was missing."

He said police officers could later go back and watch the store's surveillance video and see the thieves watching the person then taking the purse when the person's back was turned.

Houck said shoppers carrying purses should stow them in the buggy instead of the front rack of the cart and keep an eye on their surroundings.

Cooper said Charleston is a very safe place to shop but that shoppers should always be aware of their surroundings.

Parking in well lit areas is a good way to protect yourself, Cooper said. Shoppers who are uncomfortable walking out to their cars alone can ask a security guard to walk with them, he said.

Another common issue this time of year are panhandlers. Unfortunately there are some who want to take advantage of the giving spirit that strikes at this time of year.

"Business owners generally do not allow panhandling on their property," Cooper said. "At times they can be aggressive. We recommend that if you encounter one of these individuals that you call the police so that things don't escalate."

A common scam is a plea for gas money. They approach in a parking lot and explain that they're stranded and need gas money. They make promises to mail money back.

"It's probably a scam," Cooper said. "They probably asked 20 other people for the same fraudulent loan. Offer to call the police for them and they'll go away."

Charleston and South Charleston police will patrol shopping areas this year. There will be uniformed and undercover Charleston officers at Charleston Town Center. South Charleston officers will be directing traffic at the Shops at Trace Fork again this season.

Houck said officers have been controlling traffic at the shopping center for the last two weekends and will be directing motorists again this weekend. Officers will be manning the intersection as normal all day Thursday through Sunday.

South Charleston officers will be working at the shopping center every weekend until Dec. 17 when they will be on hand every day until Christmas.

Houck said drivers should be patient when dealing with holiday traffic at the shopping centers. Drivers can help themselves by knowing which lanes they need to be in so as not to hold up traffic and by using alternate routes if they can. Houck said sometimes it's just easier to get back onto Corridor G using the Dudley Farms exit or Green Road near Speedway.

"Be prepared," he said. "It's the holiday season. It's going to be busy. You know what it's going to be like and unfortunately, there's nothing we can really do about that."

He said shoppers hoping to avoid the traffic should head out early if they can.

Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.craig@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4850.

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Thanksgiving boasts best deals http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/ARTICLE/141129478 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/ARTICLE/141129478 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:12:43 -0500

By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK - Thanksgiving could be the best day to shop all year.

An analysis of sales data and store circulars by two research firms contradicts conventional wisdom that Black Friday is when shoppers can get the most and biggest sales of the year.

Turns out, shoppers will find more discounted items in stores that are open on Thanksgiving. For example, there are a total of 86 laptops and tablets deeply discounted as door buster deals at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and others on the holiday compared with just nine on Black Friday, according to an analysis of promotions for The Associated Press by researcher MarketTrack.

And on the Web, discounts will be deeper on the holiday. Online prices on Thanksgiving are expected to be about 24 percent cheaper compared with 23 percent on Black Friday and 20 percent on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe, which tracks data on 4,500 retail web sites.

The data is the latest proof that retailers are slowly redefining the Black Friday tradition. It's been the biggest shopping day of the year for years, mostly because it's traditionally when retailers pull out their best sales events. But in the last few years, retailers like the Gap, Target and Toys R Us have started opening their stores and offering holiday discounts on Thanksgiving to better compete with online rivals.

"I was surprised, but it really shifted one day," said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe, which is based in San Jose, California.

Shoppers already are noticing the deals on Thanksgiving. Corey Grassell, 34, of Appleton, Wisconsin, said he plans to shop for deals on Thanksgiving and bypass Black Friday. That's after he grabbed bargains last year on the holiday, including a washer-dryer combination at Sears for about $800, a 50 percent discount.

"I feel guilty for going out on Thanksgiving, but the deals are so much more attractive to me than on Black Friday," he says.

But some industry watchers fear others won't shop on Thanksgiving, choosing to keep the day sacred. Those who wait instead to shop on Black Friday could wind up being disappointed with the leftover deals, they say. In fact, according to Deloitte Research's recent survey of shoppers, about two-thirds say they're not motivated to go out to stores Thanksgiving because it's important to be with family and friends.

"Shoppers could be disappointed and find that the hot items on their list are not in stock on Black Friday because of the early push by retailers," says Traci Gregorski, MarketTrack's vice president of marketing.

She says she's conducting a survey of shoppers after the holiday shopping weekend to see how retailers fared. "We want to get shoppers' perception of these deals," she says.

Most big retailers acknowledge that they're starting to offer deals on Thanksgiving that previously were reserved for Black Friday.

Jeff Haydock, a spokesman at Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronics chain, said the best deals become available Thanksgiving when its doors open at 5 p.m. For example, one of Best Buy's Thanksgiving specials is a $899 55-inch LED Smart TV, the lowest price it has ever offered on a Samsung ultra-high definition TV of this size. That will be available on Friday -if supplies last.

"Naturally, more of the deals are being pulled into Thursday because our stores are open," says Haydock.

Brian Hanover, a spokesman at Sears, which is opening at 6 p.m. Thursday, also says Thanksgiving specials spill into Black Friday. But the quantities for the 1,000 door busters are limited. They include Nordic Track treadmills for $699.99, or an $800 discount, and a 36 percent savings on a Whirlpool laundry machine, regularly priced at $549.99.

"It probably behooves the customer to shop earlier on Thanksgiving," he says.

For its part, Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, says it's spreading out discounts online and in the store. But Gregorski, of MarketTrack's says its "evident" in Wal-Mart's circular that "the best deals are on Thanksgiving."

To be sure, for its two sales events on Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart devotes 36 pages of its circular to discounted TVs, computers and other items. On Black Friday? Wal-Mart has four pages of deals.

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United Mine Workers responds to strike complaint http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/ARTICLE/141129495 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/ARTICLE/141129495 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:09:56 -0500

By MATT STROUD

Associated Press

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A Patriot Coal subsidiary used contract workers who violated safety standards at a Marion County mine, endangering union workers, according to court documents the union filed in a dispute with the company.

The subsidiary, Eastern Associated Coal, sued after union workers walked off the job Oct. 17 at the Federal No. 2 mine about 25 miles west of Morgantown. A federal judge ordered the union workers back the mine later that same day.

The union complaint said "there have been numerous safety violations committed by contractors" that "have deprived bargaining unit employees of a safe workplace and resulted in them having a reasonable concern for their safety and well-being."

Using contract workers instead of union workers violates an agreement between Local 1570 and Eastern, according to the complaint.

The allegations were filed by the United Mine Workers of America Local No. 1570 on Monday.

The complaint said grievances were filed with Eastern in December 2013 and this spring but "there have been numerous violations of the settlement agreements."

Monday's complaint asked for Eastern to stop using contractors, and to award damages to Local 1570 for lost work opportunities.

The initial lawsuit by Eastern followed a brief strike that ended when Chief U.S. Judge John Preston Bailey granted a temporary restraining order, sending workers back on the job.

The order was set to expire on Nov. 14. A preliminary injunction hearing set for that day was canceled.

Eastern has not responded to the union's latest filing.

Phil Smith, of the UMW, says the Federal No. 2 mine employs more than 300 workers.

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Putnam store owner admits to price gouging http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/DM0104/141129505 DM0104 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141125/DM0104/141129505 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:32:40 -0500 By Whitney Burdette A Putnam County business owner admits he unlawfully raised the price of bottled water during a declared state of emergency.

Achraf Assi, owner of Mid Valley Mart LLC in Hurricane admitted he increased the price of water more than 10 percent immediately following the Jan. 9 chemical spill that contaminated the water of 300,000 West Virginia American Water customers, including those in Putnam County. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a 'do not use' order, meaning customers couldn't drink, bathe or wash using the contaminated water for some days.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Tuesday his office accepted an assurance of discontinuance from Assi, who will pay a $5,000 fine.

"This agreement is a victory for West Virgina consumer," Morrisey said. "During the water crisis, we pledged to aggressively prosecute anyone who attempted to take advantage of West Virginians during their time of need. We filed a complaint against one business after finding numerous instances where prices of water products had been increased dramatically. The business owner attempted to distract people from the allegations by leveling untrue allegations against me. It is good to see the business owner taking responsibility for his actions."

The original complaint, filed in February, accused Mid Valley Mart of increasing the price of gallon jugs of water to $3.39 on the morning of Jan. 10, the day after the chemical spill was detected, at its two stores. Prior to the contamination, the stores sold similar jugs for $1.59. The complaint also detailed one customer who was charged more than $40 for 12 one-gallon jugs of water.

According to state code, it is illegal for business entities to sell consumer goods, food items or emergency supplies at a price greater than 10 percent above the price charged by that entity on the tenth day preceding the declaration of emergency. Assi contends the business charged more because of costs incurred as a result of the water contamination, according to the assurance.

Assi has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and has promised to not violate consumer protection laws or other applicable state and federal laws in the future. A counter-claim against Morrisey will be dismissed. Assi had accused Morrisey of discriminating against him because he is of Lebanese descent.

Contact writer Whitney Burdette at 304-348-7939 or whitney.burdette@dailymailwv.com. Follow her at www.Twitter.com/wburdette_DM.

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Jared Hunt column: Best online deals come before Black Friday http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141124/DM05/141129670 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141124/DM05/141129670 Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:01:00 -0500 Think waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday will score you the best deals for online? Think again.

A new analysis from international technology firm Adobe Systems Inc. found that online shoppers who wait until these two key days have actually missed the boat on the best deals.

Earlier this month, the company released its 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping Forecast analyzing prices for the holiday shopping season. The forecast was based on anonymous data gathered from companies using Adobe's Marketing Cloud software. The company aggregated data from more than one trillion visits to about 4,500 retail websites over the last six years.

The company expects record sales of $1.35 billion on Thanksgiving Day - a 27 percent increase from 2013. Spending on Cyber Monday, often marketed as the online alternative to the brick and mortar retailers' Black Friday, is expected to top $2.6 billion, up 15 percent from 2013. Online sales on Black Friday are actually expected to see the biggest year-over-year increase, with sales rising 28 percent to $2.38 billion this year.

But while the bulk of the sales will occur on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Adobe analysts say those days are not the best for deals.

According to Adobe research, the weekdays leading up to Black Friday feature the best bargains.

"Consumers will be able to get the best deals this year if they shop online on Thanksgiving Day," said Brad Rencher, Adobe's senior vice president of digital marketing.

The savings will actually begin earlier in the week.

The largest single-day drop in prices will occur today (Monday), with prices expected to drop by about 5 percent from the day before. Prices will fluctuate a little during the week, though average discounts will hover around 20 percent.

Prices will bottom out on Thanksgiving Day, with the average discount of 24 percent.

Prices will increase a bit on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, before Cyber Monday discounts kick in. By Tuesday, prices will be back to where they were before Thanksgiving week began.

While in-store prices generally track online prices, the survey noted in-store Black Friday promotions and inventory clearance offers close to the holidays could lead to more discounts at physical retail locations compared to their online counterparts.

What will the top gifts be this year?

Adobe said early social media buzz indicates the iPhone 6 and 6-plus, Sony's PlayStation 4, Disney's "Frozen" dolls and Fitbit's wearable fitness trackers are hot items this year.

And if you see your relatives staring at their phones during Thanksgiving dinner this year, you might not want to say anything about it - they could be shopping for your gift.

"Smartphones and tablets continue to drive more and more sales online, which will lead to new sales records on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday," Rencher said. "With over 30 cents on the dollar spent via mobile devices, Thanksgiving Day will surpass Black Friday as the most mobile shopping day ever recorded."

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Depleted reserve funds lead to insurance changes http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141123/DM0104/141129697 DM0104 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141123/DM0104/141129697 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 16:03:35 -0500 By Whitney Burdette Although people covered by the Public Employees Insurance Agency aren't happy with possible changes to their benefits plans, director Ted Cheatham said they're necessary.

"The issue is we haven't had any capital infusion in the last several years," Cheatham said. "We've been slowly spending down PEIA active reserves to prevent premium increases as much as we could. That reserve is gone and we're needing about $40 million in benefit reductions."

PEIA officials have traveled the state to hear from those who would be affected by possible changes to co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Overall, people aren't pleased with the idea, which Cheatham said is understandable.

"Clearly they're not happy at all," he said. "Any change that's a negative change is not a good change for anyone. That's the message we're hearing loud and clear. They can't afford these changes."

The last public hearing was held Thursday in Charleston. The PEIA finance board will meet Dec. 4 to finalize the plan. Cheatham said the board will consider the public comments in making the final decision.

"We give them full credibility," he said. "We always have, regardless of what the cynics may tell you. We always listen to what the public has to say and change the plan accordingly. They think we don't listen because they don't want a change. If we make a change, we didn't listen. The issue is we have a fiscal responsibility to the state and the taxpayers to run the plan within its budget."

This is the first time in several years PEIA has considered an overhaul in plan benefits. The plan didn't change at all last fiscal year, although it typically includes small changes each year.

"We've been performing very well," Cheatham said. "We've been doing our best to run the plan as efficiently and cost effectively as last year."

Historically, the cost of health care has increased 4 percent to 5 percent while the cost of prescription drugs has increased higher, at 6 percent to 7 percent, Cheatham said. More specialty drugs are now available on the market and are generally becoming more expensive. Even generic drugs aren't immune to price increases.

"Generic drugs are beginning to grow, some of them, at astronomical rates," Cheatham said. "We've had a great strategy to move everybody to generics. We have an 85-plus percent generic fill rate within PEIA, which is very good. But there's issues there on both sides. You're seeing a trending up of medical expenses and drug expense at 4 to 5 percent a year or 6 to 7 percent a year overall. That's the fact of the business we're in."

The Affordable Care Act has had a financial effect on PEIA. To comply with the law, the company did away with pre-existing conditions and allows dependents to remain on the plan until age 26. Plan maximums also were removed.

"Those are great things for consumers," Cheatham said. "But somebody has to pay for that, so we've added a lot of expense. Over the past few years we've added $30 to 40 million in additional costs to cover those changes brought by the Affordable Care Act."

The changes adopted by the board will take effect July 1.

Contact writer Whitney Burdette at 304-348-7939 or whitney.burdette@dailymailwv.com. Follow her at www.Twitter.com/wburdette_DM.

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Company launches stink-free toilet seat http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141123/ARTICLE/141129698 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141123/ARTICLE/141129698 Sun, 23 Nov 2014 15:38:06 -0500

By M.L. JOHNSON

The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE - Blow out the candle and ditch the aerosol can.

Kohler Co. has introduced a deodorizing toilet seat that it says eliminates embarrassing bathroom odors and the need for candles and sprays to cover them up.

A fan hidden in the battery-operated seat sucks in air and pushes it through an odor-eating carbon filter, followed by an optional scent pack. Product manager Jerry Bougher said the idea is to attack smells "where the action is."

The $90 seat is one of many high-tech gadgets that Wisconsin-based Kohler and its competitors have introduced in recent years to make time spent in the bathroom more pleasant. When it comes to toilets, consumers can get seats with features such as slow-closing lids, heat and nightlights that typically add $20 to $100 to the cost.

Kohler sees deodorizing technology as something that most consumers can connect with, Bougher said. "In terms of odor, everyone's experienced it."

The seat turns on automatically when someone sits down. The fan emits a slight hum as it filters the offending odor. The air flows over a scent pack similar to air fresheners used in cars, and the masking smell builds gradually. Bougher's wife, Angela, said her husband installed a Purefresh seat in their home without telling her, and she noticed the scent "just before you would normally reach for a can of spray."

Josh Pantel, 27, has a Purefresh seat in the Middleton home he bought about three months ago with his girlfriend, who works for Kohler. He too likes it.

"If you have a visitor or someone at your place, it makes them feel more comfortable using the restroom," Pantel said.

Kohler began selling the seats Nov. 10, in time for the Christmas season. They require two D batteries to operate, and Kohler says the batteries and carbon filters, which cost $6.99, should last six months. Scent packs, which must be replaced monthly, are sold three for $7.99.

It is not the first company to make a no-smell seat. San Francisco-based Brondell introduced one in 2006 but pulled it from the market about three years ago because the manufacturing costs were high and demand "wasn't where we had hoped it would be," said the company's president, Steve Scheer. His company now includes deodorizing technology similar to Kohler's on its $600 Swash 1000 bidet seats.

"Personally, I kind of view (deodorizing) more as an extra than as a core reason to buy the product," Scheer said. However, he said the market for specialty toilet seats is growing.

"People are becoming aware of these kind of unique products," Scheer said. "And once they've used something like a bidet seat or a heated seat, there's no going back."

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Ford's new F-150 to get 26 mpg, tops among pickups http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141122/ARTICLE/141129728 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141122/ARTICLE/141129728 Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:35:50 -0500

By DEE-ANN DURBIN

AP Auto Writer

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Ford said Friday that its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup will get up to 26 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel efficient gas-powered full-size pickup.

The Ram truck is the current leader among pickups, getting up to 25 mpg on the highway with a gas engine. The Ram gets up to 28 mpg with a diesel engine; Ford doesn't make a diesel version of the F-150.

Fuel economy is a key selling point for the new F-150, which is arriving at dealerships this month. Ford shaved 700 pounds off the weight of the truck by switching the body from steel to lightweight aluminum, a dramatic change for the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.

Some analysts thought the truck might even top 30 mpg after Ford's multi-billion dollar investment to develop and produce it. The final figure met Ford's expectations of a more modest improvement, and represents 13 percent greater fuel economy than the current F-150.

With gas now averaging $2.84 per gallon, the aluminum F-150 will save the average buyer only $100 to $200 a year in fuel costs over competing gasoline models from General Motors and Chrysler, said Larry Dominique, president of the ALG auto forecasting firm.

Doug Scott, Ford's truck marketing manager, said the majority of truck customers aren't solely focused on fuel economy. The new F-150 beats its rivals in both towing - of up to 12,200 pounds - and payload of up to 3,300 pounds.

Dominique agrees that buyers will focus on the total package. "The payload, the towing. Those aspects of it plus a little bit better fuel economy is definitely an increased value," he said.

Patrick Caraher, a relocation specialist at ALE Solutions in Phoenix, said he expected higher fuel economy. But he still plans to buy a new F-150 sometime in the next year.

"Losing 700 pounds on the truck is enough for me," said Caraher, 29. "Less brake, tire and shock and suspension wear is where I take my benefits."

The F-150 will get 26 mpg on the highway with a 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, which Ford believes will account for 28 percent of sales of the new truck. The top highway fuel economy of the current truck is 23 mpg.

The company hopes the new truck's advantages outweigh customer doubts about the durability of aluminum or potential repair costs for the pricier metal.

It's a big risk. So far this year, one out of every three vehicles Ford sold in the U.S. was an F-Series pickup. It's been America's best-selling vehicle for 32 years.

Ram's diesel-powered pickup gets even better fuel economy, at 28 mpg, but starts at $30,215. Also, the price of diesel is currently 76 cents per gallon higher than gas. The F-150 starts at $25,420 with $495 premium for the EcoBoost engine, a popular option.

To further improve fuel economy, product development chief Raj Nair says Ford is developing a 10-speed transmission to replace its current 6-speed. It's also working on smaller but more powerful engines. He said a diesel engine doesn't make sense for the F-150 right now.

Ford also provided the fuel-economy breakdown for other engine types:

- The base F-150 with 3.5-liter V6 engine gets 25 mpg on the highway, or 20 mpg in combined city/highway driving. This version is expected to be 16 percent of sales of the new truck.

- The 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 gets 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 city/highway combined. Ford expects this version to make up 28 percent of sales.

- The 5-liter V8 gets should get 22 mpg on the highway, and 18 mpg city/highway combined.

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AP Auto Writer Tom Krisher contributed from Detroit.

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West Virginia environmental officials plan seminar http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141122/ARTICLE/141129733 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141122/ARTICLE/141129733 Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:15:37 -0500

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia environmental officials are planning a seminar for businesses and organizations about state and federal regulations.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says the informative meeting will take place in Wheeling on Dec. 18.

Department of Environmental Protection ombudsman Terry Polen will conduct the seminar with the West Virginia University Industrial Extension Service.

Polen will discuss permits; spill pollution control and countermeasures; used oil, hazardous and solid waste regulations; oil and gas permits; toxic release inventories; aboveground storage tank rules; stormwater prevention plans and groundwater protection plans.

Registration ends Dec. 12.

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Online:

http://www.wvmep.com

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Alpha Natural Resources to lay off 60 in Ky., WVa http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141122/ARTICLE/141129734 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141122/ARTICLE/141129734 Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:14:03 -0500

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Alpha Natural Resources has announced 60 layoffs at mining operations in Kentucky and West Virginia.

In West Virginia, the company says it will close part of a Wayne County mine and lay off 25 workers. It will also close part of the Ruby Energy mine in Mingo County and lay off 22 miners. One Delbarton Prep Plant worker will also be laid off.

In Kentucky, Alpha will idle its Taylor Fork mine in Pike County. Twelve workers will be laid off. Another 26 will stay on the job for an undetermined amount of time to remove equipment and close the mine.

In a statement, the Bristol, Virginia-based company cited an oversupply of thermal coal.

The mines weren't in Alpha's July notice warning that 1,100 layoffs could occur in West Virginia.

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Amazon.com to hire more than 100 at Huntington center http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129894 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129894 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:57:13 -0500 Amazon.com Inc. plans to hire more than 100 full-time seasonal workers at its Huntington fulfillment center ahead of the holiday shopping season.

These customer service associates will help provide assistance to Amazon customers as they place orders.

The company said some of the seasonal workers could stay on as regular full-time employees once the holiday season ends.

Nationwide, the company plans to hire 80,000 seasonal workers this year, a 14-percent increase compared to last year.

To learn more about and apply for the jobs, visit www.amazon.com/csajobs.

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Minority Business Expo planned Dec. 3 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129895 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129895 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:56:58 -0500 The state Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs on Thursday announced plans for the first Minority Business Expo to be held Dec. 3 at the Beni Kedem Temple in Charleston.

"The Minority Business Expo provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to work with local and regional partners to share best practices and collaborate with experts to gain helpful tips on how to own and operate a small business," said Dr. Carolyn Stuart, executive director. "This event provides entrepreneurs from across the state with the building blocks they need to grow their business and useful information to help chart long-term success."

The event is co-sponsored by the Columbia Pipeline Group and will take place from noon to 6:30 p.m. The West Virginia Small Business Development Center, Kanawha Institute of Social Research in Action, Vision Shared and Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council are also partnering to participate in the event.

To register for the event, contact Myisha Robinson at 304-558-3179 or myisha.r.robinson@wv.gov. For more information, visit minorityaffairs.wv.gov.

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Authority approves Edgewood Summit bonds http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129902 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129902 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:19:44 -0500 By Jared Hunt The state Economic Development Authority voted Thursday to approve up to $7 million worth of bonds to benefit Charleston's Edgewood Summit retirement community.

About $5.8 million of the bonds will be used to refinance some of Edgewood Summit's existing bonds, while $1.25 million of the bond revenue will fund improvements to Edgewood's Ridgemont assisted living wing.

The Ridgemont unit is designed for people who are generally in good health but require extra help with day-to-day tasks.

The authority first issued $15 million in bonds in 1993 to finance the construction of the first 90 independent living apartments and 40 assisted living apartments at Edgewood Summit. An additional $6.9 million in bonds were issued in 1999 to finance construction of additional 37 independent living apartments. Then in 2012, the authority issued $8.75 million in bonds to finance construction of its Arthur B. Hodges Center for skilled nursing and rehabilitation patients.

The authority also approved a 5-year, $2.8 million loan to the Berkeley County Development Authority to help the local authority purchase an additional 97.1 acres of property located adjacent to its Tabler Station Business Park in Martinsburg. The interest rate on the loan was set at 4 percent.

State authority executive director David Warner said the local authority was looking to expand the land available in its business park.

Authority board members also gave preliminary approval to a loan package totaling $916,110 for Manitowoc, Wisc.-based Skana Aluminum Co., which has a coil and flat-rolled products plant in Clarksburg.

A 15-year, $376,645 loan will help the company replace a portion of the roof on its manufacturing building. The rate on that loan will be set at 4-percentage points less than the prime rate published in the Wall Street Journal at the time the loan closes.

A separate 10-year, $539,465 loan will help the company finance improvements and additions to its equipment at the facility. The interest rate on that loan will be set at 2 percent.

The company expects to create about eight new jobs within the next three years following the expansion project.

Warner also said the U.S. Small Business Administration this week approved a request to decertify the state's Certified Development Corporation, which administers the SBA's CDC/504 loan program in the state. The small business loan program covers the cost of land and building purchases, facilities improvements and construction.

Earlier this year, the SBA issued new, more-stringent regulations regarding how the certified development corporations (CDCs) across the country can operate.

The new rules, which take effect in April, would require the corporations to pay for independent, third-party audits of its finances and loan portfolios. They would also have to employ at least one full-time staff member and corporation board members would not be allowed to serve on other boards and could be held personally liable in court for the corporation's transactions.

There are only six West Virginia businesses currently in the program. They owe about $3 million on their loans. No businesses have applied for a loan through the program in more than a year.

With little activity, Warner and other board members decided it was not worthwhile for the state to pay the cost of hiring staff and complying with the other recommendations. Last month, the corporation's board voted to dissolve the organization.

Dissolving the state corporation would not cut off the program to state businesses. The program's administration would transfer back to another regional economic development corporation.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.

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United Way worker says position rewarding http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM01/141129892 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM01/141129892 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:05:56 -0500 By Charlotte Ferrell Smith Barbara Mallory gets thousands of requests for assistance and works with numerous agencies to fulfill any number of needs.

She answers an avalanche of telephone calls, takes work home and recently spent her day off trying to match needs with agencies offering help.

Mallory, information and referral specialist for United Way of Central West Virginia, loves her job.

"I wouldn't trade it for the world," Mallory said. "They would have to put me out. I truly feel I am where I am supposed to be. We get thousands of requests and get calls daily."

From September through December, much of her time is devoted to the Christmas Bureau as she works with 26 agencies to meet the needs of families during the holiday season. Some agencies serve as application sites and some provide toys, food or clothing or a combination of those items. Filtering applications through the Christmas Bureau puts an end to duplications and allows more families to receive assistance through participating agencies, churches and other organizations.

"We mail out applications in September to those who got assistance last year," said Mallory, who added the deadline is past for most toy providers.

She said 1,660 families have requested assistance this holiday season for food or toys, or both. That includes 2,690 individuals. Of those, 2,666 are children.

"It's pretty much in line with last year," she said. "From late October to early November is a very busy time for the Christmas Bureau. The toy providers amaze me. They are able to get the toys. Many are volunteers with other positions."

While the holiday season is hectic, requests for help arrive year-round and she keeps track of hundreds of agencies and organizations that may be able to fill needs from utility assistance to transportation to medical appointments. She also attends meetings and conferences to stay abreast of the newest developments and most recent nonprofits.

"We keep a list of partner agencies," she said. "The challenge is not having an answer to every need, but we give them the referrals we have."

She has seen a growing number of struggling grandparents raising grandchildren on a limited income.

"It's heartbreaking when they should be enjoying life," she said.

However, the rewards of her position are great.

"I feel like I help people and that is what life is all about," she said. "If I can help one person today I have done my job. My goal is to help everyone who calls but that doesn't happen. I get help for people and I meet people who help people. It is a pick-me-upper to be around folks like that."

She first came to United Way in 2001 through Americorps VISTA, a national service program geared to fight poverty. For a while she worked part time as a church secretary and part time at United Way as Kanawha County coordinator for the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program. In 2011, her current position opened and she found her niche.

She answers calls with assistance from Karyn Daniels, of LifeBridge Americorps.

"We want to be the calm, reassuring, respectful voice they hear," Mallory said of the callers.

Mallory, 59, is a graduate of South Charleston High School. She said she gave up college plans when she fell in love and married.

However, it isn't likely many could coordinate the avalanche of tasks she performs with love and enthusiasm. In addition to her regular job, she teaches Bible classes twice a week to children at Nitro Church of Christ.

She and husband, Mike Mallory, are the parents of Kelli, Matt, Greg and Brian. They expect to be first-time grandparents in January.

"I've got the greatest family in the world," she said.

She added that United Way is also like family to her.

"I am blessed to be in this position," she said.

Go to unitedwaycwviandr.org for more information about programs, services and volunteer opportunities. To reach Barbara Mallory, email bmallory@unitedwaycwv.org or call 304-414-4405.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlotte@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1246.

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Ferguson Waterworks to move to former Evans Lumber site http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129899 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/DM05/141129899 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:49:34 -0500 By Jared Hunt Ferguson Waterworks plans to renovate the former Evans Lumber store in South Charleston and move the company's Charleston operations to the new site.

Ferguson, which provides waterworks, sewer, geosynthetic and storm water management supplies and custom-fabricated products, plans to move to the Evans Lumber site by March.

The company is planning a groundbreaking ceremony with South Charleston officials Friday morning. It already has crews on site leveling land around the existing Evans Lumber building, which will serve as a storage area.

"We're going to still utilize the existing storefront where they had their hardware store that will be our main office," said Chris Tudor, manager of Ferguson's Charleston office.

Ferguson currently operates out of a leased storefront between 7th Avenue and Washington Street West in Charleston's West Side. It employs nine people at that location.

The company's landlord worked out a deal earlier this year to sell the property to Mountaineer Gas, which is planning to move its Stockton Street service center to Washington Street West.

"We were already looking to move because we had outgrown our place here, then it so happened our landlord sold the property so it put the process on the fast track," Tudor said.

Tudor said the Evans Lumber property will give the company the space it was looking for.

"It'll definitely give us more room to operate, allow us to stock more material and better serve our customers," he said.

Evans Lumber closed in March 2012 after 82 years of business. The family-owned company located along D Street and 2nd Avenue was a longtime anchor in South Charleston's downtown.

South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said he was happy to see Ferguson Waterworks take over the location.

"It's a good business for our community and we're thrilled to have them in South Charleston," Mullens said.

"It takes a storefront that we had that was sitting idle and now it's going to be fixed up," he said. "It'll be nice to see that facility being occupied and productive again."

What remains unclear though is what will become of the giant paint can that sits atop the Evans Lumber building.

"I wish I had a dollar for every person who's asked me that," Tudor said.

He said the company had thought about selling it if there was an interested buyer, but he said it may also try to renovate and repurpose the can to something that better fits the Ferguson business.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at business@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4836.

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Key models make debut at car show http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/ARTICLE/141129952 ARTICLE http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141120/ARTICLE/141129952 Thu, 20 Nov 2014 08:55:24 -0500

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - One out of every 10 new vehicles sold in the U.S. last year was purchased in California. So it's no wonder automakers save some of their most important introductions for the Los Angeles Auto Show.

As usual, green cars are a focus in eco-conscious L.A. Toyota is showing its emission-free hydrogen fuel-cell car, the Mirai, which goes on sale next year in the U.S. and Europe. Honda has a fuel-cell concept car, the FCV, which is expected to go on sale in 2016, while Volkswagen is showing a fuel-cell version of its Golf wagon.

Some familiar names, such as the Ford Explorer and the Chrysler 300, unveiled their latest looks. And with U.S. gas prices at a four-year low and California's economy rebounding, this year's show also features luxury cars. Mercedes, Audi and Porsche will also have important introductions at the show.

The L.A. Auto Show opens to the public Nov. 21. Here are some of the most talked-about vehicle introductions:

AUDI: The German luxury brand hints at its new design direction with a concept sedan, the Audi Prologue. It's the first vehicle from Marc Lichte, a Volkswagen veteran who was appointed head of Audi design in February. The car is shorter and sportier than the current A8, and has a lower, wider and more angular grille. Under the hood is a 605-horsepower V8 engine. The two-door coupe could become Audi's new flagship A9. But in the meantime, look for the new design to trickle into the brand's future products.

CHRYSLER 300: Chrysler hopes to breathe some life into the lagging full-size sedan segment with the first full update of the 300 since 2005. The car still has its imperious, 1950s-inspired looks, but there's a new, more prominent grille and LED lights. Inside, there's more premium content, including a new 7-inch driver information display. Chrysler promises best-in-class fuel economy of 31 mpg on the highway with its eight-speed transmission - now standard - and new safety features, including forward collision warning. The new 300 goes on sale early next year with a starting price of $32,390 including shipping.

FORD EXPLORER: The SUV that kicked off America's love affair 20 years ago is getting a refresh for 2016. New features include front and rear cameras equipped with washers - an industry first - and a hands-free liftgate that can sense the driver's foot. Ford says the new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 270 horsepower should deliver fuel economy similar to the 2.0-liter EcoBoost it replaces. The Explorer goes on sale next summer. Pricing wasn't released.

HONDA HR-V: Honda enters the subcompact SUV market - one of the fastest growing in the industry - with its Fit-based HR-V. The tiny five-seater is cleverly designed to maximize space; with the second-row seats folded, there's 59 cubic feet of cargo volume. That's 23 more cubic feet than one of its chief rivals, the Nissan Juke. Like the Juke, its back door handles are hidden, giving it a sporty, coupe-like look. The HR-V has a 138-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and the choice of a continuously variable automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. All-wheel drive is optional. The HR-V goes on sale in the U.S. this winter. Pricing and fuel economy weren't released.

LEXUS LF-C2: Toyota's luxury brand celebrates its 25th birthday with the LF-C2 concept convertible. The show car will definitely draw some stares, if only for its striking goldenrod paint job. Lexus says the LF-C2, with its exaggerated take on Lexus's signature spindle grille and sharply angled front bumper, gives clues to Lexus's future designs.

MAZDA CX-3: Mazda joins the subcompact SUV market with the CX-3. The tiny utility - at 168 inches, it's about the same length as the Buick Encore - will be sold in North America with Mazda's 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine, which gets up to 40 mpg on the highway in the Mazda3 compact car. It will also have a six-speed automatic transmission and optional all-wheel drive. The CX-3 goes on sale in the spring in Japan and globally soon after. Pricing wasn't announced.

SCION iM: Twelve years after its launch, Toyota's youth-oriented Scion brand is having an identity crisis. U.S. sales are down 15 percent so far this year as buyers wonder what to make of its mishmash of cars, from the tiny iQ to the boxy xB. Enter the iM hatchback. Scion makes sporty new statement with the low-riding iM, which has 19-inch tires and an edgier grille than siblings like the tC. The iM goes on sale next year and will likely be priced under $20,000. It's the first of three new models intended to overhaul the brand in the next three years.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF R VARIANT: The wagon version of the sporty Golf R is a parent's dream: It seats five and has the cargo space of a small SUV but also has a "race" mode for track driving and accelerates from zero to 50 mph in just 3.8 seconds. It shares the Golf R's 296-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Golf R Variant goes on sale in Europe this spring before coming to North America. Pricing wasn't announced, but the Golf R on which it's based will start at $37,415.

VOLVO V60 CROSS COUNTRY: The Cross Country sits up higher and has bigger wheels that the regular V60 wagon. It will launch with Volvo's five-cylinder, 250-horsepower engine and all-wheel drive. Later, a four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive version will be available. The Cross Country goes on sale in the U.S. early next year at a starting price of $41,000. Volvo, suffering from a decade-long slide in sales, also announced a plan to regain U.S. share by redoing all of its vehicles over the next five years.

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Hurricane ALDI to open Dec. 4 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141119/DM05/141119064 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141119/DM05/141119064 Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:54:36 -0500 Low-price grocery chain ALDI will open its new Liberty Square store in Hurricane Dec. 4.

The new 18,000-square-foot store will be the company's sixth in the Charleston-Huntington metro area. A company representative told the Daily Mail in July ALDI would like to double its number of stores in West Virginia in the next five years, opening between six to eight new locations each year.

The company will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new store at 9 a.m. Dec. 4. Shoppers will be able to sample ALDI's exclusive brand products until 3 p.m. that day and also enter an on-site sweepstakes for a chance to win ALDI gift certificates.

The Hurricane store showcases ALDI's "new look," featuring higher ceilings, improved natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials, such as recycled materials and energy-saving refrigeration and light bulbs.

The Hurricane location will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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New Snowshoe inn to open in December http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141119/DM05/141119065 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141119/DM05/141119065 Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:54:34 -0500 Corduroy Inn, Snowshoe Mountain's new family-owned inn, plans to open in December.

The 12-room inn is located at the former site of the Vantage Inn and Red Fox restaurant. Since it was sold in December 2013, it has undergone a million-dollar renovation, completely updating the facility with a modern, elegant style while maintaining rustic charm, with every room having its own fireplace.

"We have tried to create a unique experience for our guest," owner Kristin Billing said. "We will be the only upscale boutique hotel on the mountain." said Kristin Billing, Owner.

Corduroy Inn is located next to the Powder Monkey chairlift and across the street from Snowshoe's Western Territories.

Amenities include fine dining, a bar and coffee shop and onsite check-in and concierge in a private hearth room for hotel guest use only. Each room also has free high-speed Internet and satellite TV with over 120 channels.

Hotel guests also receive complimentary access to the fitness area in Snowshoe's spa and Split Rock Pools, both located in the main village. Reservations can be made online through the inn's website, www.corduroyinn.com.

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Business people for Thursday, Nov. 20 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141119/DM05/141119063 DM05 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141119/DM05/141119063 Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:55:10 -0500 INSURANCE

n T. Kirk Aguirre, an agent and business director with Brickstreet Mutual Insurance Co., received the C.F.L. Chamberlaine Company Representative of the Year Award from the Independent Insurance Agents of West Virginia during the organization's annual convention at The Greenbrier.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions made to the industry by those who assist independent insurance agents.

n Tim Dyer of P.M. Long Dyer Insurance Agency in Clarksburg received the Earle S. Dillard Agent of the Year award from the Independent Insurance Agents of West Virginia during the organization's annual convention at The Greenbrier.

The award is presented annually to an association member agent who, throughout their career, personified the qualities most admired by the profession.

n Michael Brewster, an agent with New York Life's Williamson office, received the company's West Virginia General Office Agent of the Month award for October.

n Jeff VanGilder, a New Org Agent with New York Life's West Virginia General Office in Charleston, received the company's New Org Agent of the Month award for October.

LAW

n Shuman, McCuskey and Slicer PLLC has hired David Butler, Dominick Pellegrin, Maggie Burrus and Michael Dunham as attorneys for the firm.

Butler, a 2010 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law, joins the firm as an associate at its Morgantown office.

Pellegrin, a former captain of Fairmont State University's Lincoln-Douglas Debate Team and 2008 state Lincoln-Douglas debate champion, joins the firm as an associate in the Charleston office.

Burrus, a former lead article editor for the Washington and Lee University law school's Journal of Energy, Climate and the Environment, joins the firm as an associate in the Charleston office.

Dunham, a former member of the Moot Court National Team, joins the firm as an associate in the Charleston office.

n Geoffry Haddad, manager of Martin & Seibert's Charleston office, recently participated in A.M. Best's Insurance Law Podcast, a broadcast about timely and important legal issues affecting the insurance industry. Haddad discussed trends in finding faulty workmanship as an occurrence under commercial general liability policies.

LOBBYING

n Chris Weikle has been named deputy director of government relations and advocacy for LGCR Government Solutions LLC. He will help the firm's clients with legislative affairs and dealings with state regulatory agencies.

Weikle joins the firm after serving as deputy director of public policy for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for the last three years. He also worked as the governor's federal liaison with the National Governors Association and the state's congressional delegation.

PHILANTHROPY

n The Foundation for the Thomas Memorial and Saint Francis Hospitals has chosen the Rashid family to receive its Philanthropist of the Year Award.

LeRoy Rashid has been a successful entrepreneur, bringing businesses and jobs to the community. Dr. Richard Rashid's association with Thomas Memorial Hospital spans more than 50 years. In that time, six other family members have followed his lead, becoming doctors and dedicating their lives to caring for others. The Rashid Family Foundation created an endowment that financially assists working families with their health care needs. Georgette Rashid George is serving her second nine-year term on the board of directors of the foundation. And for the third consecutive year, they are hosting the annual Chics for Charity Holiday Event Nov. 20 at the Holiday Inn & Suites in South Charleston.

The Foundation presented the award to the Rashid family Nov. 1 at the foundation's 21st annual charity gala and auction at Embassy Suites.

Compiled by Jared Hunt

Email announcements regarding new hires, promotions, or awards at your business to business@dailymailwv.com. Attach headshots in JPEG format.

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