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Public health districts across Virginia have opened public health call centers to answer questions on coronavirus.

Staff members at these centers are prepared to give information on symptoms, how to minimize risk and exposure, local and statewide conditions, testing resources and how they’re being used and what to do if you think you’re sick.

Below is a list of call centers:

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Coronavirus, How To Wash Your Hands
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The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will see a new $2 million scholarship fund after a gift from the Rapha Foundation.

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Four new public WiFi spots are now operational in Southwest Virginia. The hotspots, a project of the Cumberland Plateau Company and its operating partner Point Broadband, are strategically located near popular areas where citizens tend to gather.

The four WiFi spots include downtown Tazewell in Tazewell County; the Verner Blankenship Community Park in Hurley in Buchanan County; downtown Haysi in Dickenson County; and the Lebanon Recreational Center in Russell County.

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Black Lung Benefits Drop For Kentucky Coal Miners After Controversial Law Change

Two years ago, Kentucky lawmakers made a controversial change to the rules for black lung benefits. Now, state records show that since that change, the percent of Kentucky miners diagnosed by state-approved experts as having the disease fell from 54 percent before the law change to just 26 percent. An analysis of state data by the Ohio Valley ReSource also suggests that the doctors now making decisions on claims more often side with coal companies than with coal miners.

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Editorial: 'A grave national problem'

Through our history, we've often seen certain cities rise as new industries prospered - think of Detroit with automobiles in the 20th century. However, the economic fortunes of those cities were still linked to smaller communities elsewhere. Car makers depended on steel from places like Gary, Indiana, and those steel plants, in turn, were powered by coal from Appalachia. If Detroit was doing well, so were other communities along its supply chain, from Detroit to Dickenson County. The technologies that now drive the 21st century economy have broken that connection, though. Google isn't buying algorithms from digit factories in Clintwood. Tech industries in Silicon Valley may be doing great, but they're leaving the rest of the country untethered in a very different economy.

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RICHLANDS, Va. — An escaped inmate out of Tazewell County who has been on the run for nearly a year has been apprehended in Florida.
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New Life
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Health Wagon to hold health fairs in Wise, Clintwood, and Clinchco in March
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The decline of the coal industry and the associated ongoing bankruptcies of large coal companies create a serious concern that surface coal mining states may inherit large-scale liabilities for unremediated coal mines. These states may also have limited funding to remediate all abandoned mines at once, requiring prioritization of the cleanup of coal mines. In West Virginia and central Appalachia, these coal mines are often located in areas ranked as having poor public health outcomes, poor health factors, and extremely low-socioeconomic status. Epidemiological research has associated poor health outcomes for residents located near coal mining. Coal mine remediation presents an opportunity to improve the environment of the coalfields and perhaps improve health in communities surrounded by coal mines, as well as those downstream of polluted mining water discharges. By examining factors uniquely associated with the central Appalachia and West Virginia coalfields, a conceptual model that demonstrates how community health can be considered as a factor for prioritization of resources in remediation of abandoned coal mines was developed. The model utilizes health concerns specific to West Virginia and central Appalachia, relies on data already collected by the state, and identifies areas of the state with vulnerable health populations. Because this conceptual model is tailored to specific state concerns and existing state data, this model would be cost-effective as an off-the-shelf model for state agencies, and it could also be prospectively used when permitting new pollutant sources, such as new coal mines or natural gas drill sites and pipelines.

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Train derails, catches fire in Pike County

The derailment happened this morning in the Pond Creek of Draffin area along the CSX Transporation mainline. The train is on fire and is derailed near several residences. The rail line runs along the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River.

U.S. Highway 460 is currently closed while crews respond to the derailment. There is currently no word on a cause of the derailment.

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Trump signs resolution to permit dumping mining waste into waterways

The resolution, signed Feb. 16, reversed an Obama-era rule aimed at blocking coal-mining operations from dumping waste into nearby waterways.

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Scientists, Mine Safety Officials Discuss Black Lung Protections
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Voluntary evacuations in place for Appalachia in Wise County | WCYB
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CLINTWOOD, Va. (WJHL) — Three people are facing charges after investigators found drugs and guns while executing a search warrant.
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The Dickenson County Sheriff’s Office and the 29th Circuit Narcotics Task Force executed a search warrant in the Caney Ridge area of Dickenson County. The search warrant resulted in three (3) individuals being charged with eleven (11) felonies related to criminal narcotics trafficking, possession, and the seizure of methamphetamine, marijuana, and firearms. The 29th Circuit Narcotics Task Force is comprised of Dickenson and Buchanan County Sheriff’s Offices, Grundy Police Department, and the Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation Drug Enforcement Section.
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A man is in custody after allegedly attempting to run over a deputy at a checkpoint in Dickenson County, Virginia overnight.

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U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., along with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va. and U.S. Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., announced last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is allocating $235.6 million to Buchanan County and $51.3 million to Dickenson County for new flood risk reduction projects.

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Forest Service seeks information on vandalism, trash dumping at High Knob Tower

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Dickenson County mobile home fire contained to single building

DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) - Crews were out in 16-degree weather on Tuesday night battling a mobile home fire in Dickenson County, Virginia.

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Virginia coalfield localities call for renewed federal funding for mine cleanup

Norton, Va. — Seven local governments in Southwest Virginia have passed resolutions calling on the state’s congressional delegation to support federal legislation that would reauthorize funding program to reclaim abandoned coal mines. The town of Pound, in Wise County, passed a resolution last night, becoming the 7th Virginia locality to do so in less than two months. The others are St. Paul, Norton, Big Stone Gap, Dungannon, Haysi, and Appalachia.

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'Swallowed by Opioids'? A New Look at Appalachian 'Deaths of Despair'

Ever since Anne Case and Angus Deaton of Princeton University coined the term "deaths of despair" in their 2015 study on rising mortality rates among working class whites, the public and policymakers have been focused on the role of long-term un- and under-employment in rising levels of suicide, addiction and alcoholism among white, less-educated workers. The jobs that had sustained the white working class, it was argued, moved out and drugs and alcohol moved in. The Case-Deaton study codified an unease in the public mind that automation and international trade had deprived working class whites of jobs they had depended on for generations to achieve and maintain middle-class lives. Productive work was replaced by social collapse culminating in rising numbers of early deaths. Read more…

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Honey, have you seen the kids? They were here just a minute ago.