"West Virginia billionaire Jim Justice made his fortune in coal and agriculture, and he is revered in his home state as the man who rescued the historic Greenbrier resort from bankruptcy. Worth an estimated $1.7 billion, Justice is a prominent member of the tiny West Virginia community of Lewisburg, keeping a modest home and finding time to coach basketball at the local high school. He ranks No. 292 on a list of wealthiest Americans by Forbes magazine, which estimates that his personal wealth has grown by $500 million in the last year."
" The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy has upheld its decision to administratively deny a surface mining permit on Ison Rock Ridge. The proposed mine, on more than 1,200 acres near Appalachia in Wise County, has been controversial since the company first filed a permit to mine there six years ago."
"Coal billionaire Jim Justice is a noble philanthropist who rescued The Greenbrier resort and was this newspaper's 2009 West Virginian of the Year. But not even he can prevent the relentless downturn of mining in Central Appalachia. He promises to resolve several debt suits pending against his old coal firms, and added: 'Our economy is really struggling, utilities are converting to natural gas, and you may be witnessing the death of the coal industry.' The decline evidently caused another 160 miner layoffs in Boone County by Alpha Natural Resources, which inflicted more suffering on the coal-dependent zone. This sad community loss follows several similar setbacks in coal fields of southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky."
" The coal industry's troubles have been well documented over the past few years, but West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Chris Hamilton said he believes the worldwide need for coal can provide the industry somewhat of a silver lining for decades to come."
"'Rails to Trails' is a national organization that takes former rail lines and transforms them into trails. The largest rails to trails project in the state is in Eastern Kentucky and officially opened on Saturday...Folks living in the area will not only get to get out and enjoy the trail but officials say they will also benefit economically as the trail will attract visitors from across the country."
"Flames lick at the roof of the coal mine, heat building and visibility dropping as smoke begins to fill the underground passageway. Then, with the push of a few buttons on a hand-held remote, the flames flicker out and the lights come on.This is the magic of the Running Right Leadership Academy, a $23 million training complex dedicated to teaching miners how to avoid injury and death in any disaster, and in one of the most dangerous work environments. Alpha Natural Resources calls it the only facility of its kind in the world, a place where crises can be created but controlled."
"Kyle Thacker's bloodline in the underground coal mines of Eastern Kentucky goes back decades.His grandfather Willard Thacker raised 16 children on a miner's pay, beginning in the days when the back-breaking job involved blasting down coal and loading it into carts with a shovel...Thacker and thousands of other miners are confronting the latest in a century of booms and busts in the Eastern Kentucky coal industry. This time, experts warn, the backslide looks permanent."
"When I came in, the town I perceived, was alarmed, by the people standing at their doors. At the first, I found myself quite shut up. My heart and head were dead as a stone, but when I came to the inn, my soul began to be enlarged. I felt a freedom in my spirit, and was enabled to preach with power to near two thousand people. Many were convicted. One was drowned in tears, because she had said I was crazy; and some were so filled with the Holy Ghost that they were almost unable to support themselves under it. This, I know, is foolishness to the natural and letter-learned men, but I write this for the comfort of God’s children. They know what these things mean."