[cleeng_content id="615004733" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]MORGANTOWN – More than three decades after he was first picked as president of West Virginia University, E. Gordon Gee has returned to the job.
The school’s Board of Governors on Monday voted unanimously in emergency session to hire Gee permanently – a move recommended last week by the presidential search committee. He’d been WVU’s interim president since January following the departure of Jim Clements for the top job at Clemson University.
“Gordon Gee is absolutely, hands-down the very best person to be at the helm of West Virginia University at this important time and place in our history,” Board of Governors Chairman James W. Dailey II said Friday. “I know we recruited him to serve until a permanent leader was in place and said the interim president would not be a candidate for the permanent presidency, but the search committee and the board had a change of heart.”
The hiring is expected to be formalized in a special meeting of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.
It’s the third time he’s led the state’s flagship university. Gee, 70, first served as president from 1981 to 1985.
Dailey said Gee hadn’t been a “placeholder” since his return to Morgantown. After he was hired in December, Gee said he didn’t like the word “interim.”
“I think it signifies ‘seat warmer,’” Gee said. “I’m a guy who likes to get in and get to work and make a difference as much as I can.”
“Countless people have urged us from Day One to keep him,” Dailey said Friday.
Rockefeller a “no” on water: U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller remains skeptical about the drinking water for 300,000 Charleston-area residents.
Friday in Charleston, the West Virginia Democrat said he would not drink tap water when he is visiting the capital city. Also Friday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin lifted a state of emergency that had covered nine counties affected by the Jan. 9 spill of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River.
Health officials said the water was safe to use more than a month ago, but Tomblin kept the emergency declaration in force partially because of lingering odor from some taps and showers.
Said Rockefeller of the safety of the water supply: “You can’t be sure.”
Tomblin’s brother seeking plea deal: Federal prosecutors are seeking a plea hearing for the brother of West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in a drug distribution case.
Assistant U.S. Prosecutor C. Haley Bunn filed the motion in U.S. District Court in Charleston in the case involving Carl Tomblin of Chapmanville.
Bunn asked the court to schedule a hearing at which Carl Tomblin, 50, is expected to plead guilty to a federal information charging him with illegally distributing prescription painkiller oxymorphone in December.
Tuition freeze still on at A-B: Alderson Broaddus is extending a freeze on costs for undergraduate students to help them get a college education.
University President Richard Creehan says the three-year commitment that began in the 2011-12 school year will now run through the spring of 2015.
Alderson Broaddus’ comprehensive fees include tuition, room and board and a general fee. When the freeze was first announced, the costs totaled $29,000 a year.
Creehan says the university is making “a genuine effort to help parents.” He says A-B is giving students a private school experience at a public school cost.
Hunters’ input sought: Hunters, trappers, anglers and others can review West Virginia’s proposed new hunting regulations can speak out at a public meeting in Martinsburg March 17.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources proposals include 2014 regulations for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear and boar, 2015-2016 general hunting and trapping regulations and 2015 fishing regulations and amphibian and reptile regulations.
Other meetings will be held around the state this month. April 4 is the deadline to submit written comments to the DNR.
Embezzlement admitted: A former Bethany College worker admits she stole more than $1 million from her employer, and she says she did it to pay off two people who threatened to tell her husband she had been unfaithful.
Shelly Lough made the admission Friday in Brooke County Circuit Court as she pleaded guilty to two counts of felony embezzlement and falsifying accounts at the small liberal arts college where worked as a cashier from July 2011 until May.
Lough told police she was being blackmailed by two people who demanded payments in exchange for keeping silent about her extramarital affair.
She is set to be sentenced April 8.
Growing interest in hops: Growers are being sought for a three-year research project to determine the viability of hop production in West Virginia.
West Virginia State University Extension Service agent Brad Cochran says researchers want to determine the best varieties of hops to grow in West Virginia.
The goal is to foster commercial production of hops and to support the state’s brewing industry. Up to six growers will be selected to take part in the project. Applications must be submitted by March 20 at wvstateu.edu/extension.