Howard Berkes http://wfpl.org en Report Details Industry's 'Cutthroat' Fight Of Miners' Claims http://wfpl.org/post/report-details-industrys-cutthroat-fight-miners-claims My investigative reporting colleague Chris Hamby at the Center for Public Integrity has a compelling and troubling follow-up to our <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/156453033/black-lung-returns-to-coal-country">jointly-reported series last year</a> on the resurgence of the deadly coal miners' disease black lung.<p>Hamby has spent the last year investigating the system that awards compensation to miners stricken with the disease. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 10:39:16 +0000 Howard Berkes 7373 at http://wfpl.org Former Massey Exec Gets 42 Months In Mine Disaster Case http://wfpl.org/post/former-massey-exec-gets-42-months-mine-disaster-case <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/11/28/166064046/mine-disaster-probe-leads-to-conspiracy-charges-against-former-executive">David Hughart</a> is now the highest-ranking former executive of Massey Energy to go to jail for crimes related to the <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/131960177/massey-mine-investigation">worst coal mine disaster in 40 years</a>.<p>On Tuesday, a judge in West Virginia sentenced Hughart to 42 months in jail and three years of supervised release.<p>Hughart, 54, of Crab Orchard, W. Wed, 11 Sep 2013 10:51:18 +0000 Howard Berkes 6798 at http://wfpl.org Former Massey Exec Gets 42 Months In Mine Disaster Case Amid Data Controversy, NSA Builds Its Biggest Data Farm http://wfpl.org/post/amid-data-controversy-nsa-builds-its-biggest-data-farm As privacy advocates and security experts debate the validity of the National Security Agency's massive data gathering operations, the agency is putting the finishing touches on its biggest data farm yet.<p>The gargantuan $1.2 billion complex at a National Guard base 26 miles south of Salt Lake City features 1.5 million square feet of top secret space. Mon, 10 Jun 2013 10:49:30 +0000 Howard Berkes 5711 at http://wfpl.org Amid Data Controversy, NSA Builds Its Biggest Data Farm Doctors Confirm Black Lung In Victims Of Mine Blast http://wfpl.org/post/doctors-confirm-black-lung-victims-mine-blast The tragic deaths of 29 coal miners in a <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/131960177/massey-mine-investigation">massive explosion in 2010</a> have provided new evidence of a <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/07/09/155978300/as-mine-protections-fail-black-lung-cases-surge">resurgence of the disease known as black lung</a>.<p>On Monday, a team of pathologists and lung disease experts will present the results of <a href="http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/ajrccm-conference.2013.187.1_MeetingAbstracts.A6063">a detailed study of lung tissue</a> from some of the victims of the Upper Big Bran Fri, 17 May 2013 17:29:06 +0000 Howard Berkes 5441 at http://wfpl.org Doctors Confirm Black Lung In Victims Of Mine Blast Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths http://wfpl.org/post/fines-slashed-grain-bin-entrapment-deaths The night before he died, Wyatt Whitebread couldn't stand the thought of going back to the grain bins on the edge of Mount Carroll, Ill.<p>The mischievous and popular 14-year-old had been excited about his first real job, he told Lisa Jones, the mother of some of his closest friends, as she drove him home from a night out for pizza. But nearly two weeks later he told her he was tired of being sent into massive storage bins clogged with corn.<p>Jones choked back tears as she recalled the conversation. Sun, 24 Mar 2013 14:12:11 +0000 Howard Berkes 4647 at http://wfpl.org Fines Slashed In Grain Bin Entrapment Deaths Should Grain Bins On Farms Be Regulated, Too? http://wfpl.org/post/should-grain-bins-farms-be-regulated-too The commercial grain industry responded to a record number of grain entrapments and deaths in 2010 with more safety videos, publications and training programs.<p>"Have tragic incidents still happened? Yes," says Jeff Adkisson, who heads the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois. "Are we working to reduce them further? Absolutely."<p>Randy Gordon, president of the National Grain and Feed Association, sees no need for additional regulations. Sun, 24 Mar 2013 14:11:28 +0000 Howard Berkes & Jim Morris 4645 at http://wfpl.org Should Grain Bins On Farms Be Regulated, Too? Massey Mine Boss Sentenced; Feds Toughen Mine Safety Rule http://wfpl.org/post/massey-mine-boss-sentenced-feds-toughen-mine-safety-rule Nearly three years after a deadly mine explosion in West Virginia, a former Massey Energy mine superintendent has been sentenced to prison and federal regulators have toughened a regulation that could have helped prevent the disaster.<p>Today in federal court in Beckley, W.Va., former <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/131960177/massey-mine-investigation?ps=rs">Upper Big Branch coal mine</a> superintendant <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/02/22/147252153/massey-mine-boss-charged-in-deadly-coal-mine-explosion">Gary May</a> was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay Thu, 17 Jan 2013 20:14:51 +0000 Howard Berkes 3473 at http://wfpl.org Massey Mine Boss Sentenced; Feds Toughen Mine Safety Rule Mine Disaster Probe Leads To Conspiracy Charges Against Former Executive http://wfpl.org/post/mine-disaster-probe-leads-conspiracy-charges-against-former-executive Federal prosecutors in West Virginia stepped higher up the corporate ladder at Massey Energy Wednesday with new criminal charges stemming from the investigation of the <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/131960177/massey-mine-investigation">2010 coal mine explosion</a> that killed 29 workers.<p>David C. Hughart was president of Massey's Green Valley Resource Group, a major coal mining subsidiary based in Leivasy, W. Va., from 2000 to 2010.<p>He has agreed to plead guilty to the charges and is cooperating with the investigation, U.S. Wed, 28 Nov 2012 17:12:45 +0000 Howard Berkes 2674 at http://wfpl.org Mine Disaster Probe Leads To Conspiracy Charges Against Former Executive Poll: Romney Has Large Lead In Rural Swing Counties http://wfpl.org/post/poll-romney-has-large-lead-rural-swing-counties As Mitt Romney and President Obama get ready for their second debate, a new bipartisan survey shows a surge for Romney in a key voter group following their first debate Oct. 3.<p>The random cellphone and land line poll of 600 likely rural voters in nine battleground states Oct. 9-11 has Romney at 59 percent among the survey's respondents. Tue, 16 Oct 2012 13:25:12 +0000 Howard Berkes 2032 at http://wfpl.org Poll: Romney Has Large Lead In Rural Swing Counties Coal Mine Company Denies Responsibility Despite Disaster Settlement http://wfpl.org/post/coal-mine-company-denies-responsibility-despite-disaster-settlement The Labor Department says a Thursday settlement in the 2007 Crandall Canyon mine disaster clearly leaves mine owner Murray Energy with "acknowledged responsibility for the failures that led to the tragedy."<p>"These failures resulted in the needless deaths of nine" miners and rescuers, Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith says.<p>But despite company signatures on the settlement document, Murray Energy tells NPR "this settlement is not an admission of any contribution to the August 2007 accidents."<p><p>The settlement [<a href="http://media.npr.org/documents/2012/sept/crandallsetllement.pdf" targe Fri, 28 Sep 2012 02:09:50 +0000 Howard Berkes 1818 at http://wfpl.org Coal Mine Company Denies Responsibility Despite Disaster Settlement