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  1. Gov. Justice and Commercial Metals Company (CMC) announce new Micro Mill in Berkeley County

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    CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and Commercial Metals Company (CMC) today announced that Berkeley County will be the home of the company’s fourth micro mill. The facility, projected to cost approximately $450 million, will produce rebar and is projected to begin operations in late 2025.

    “I am thrilled to welcome Commercial Metals Company to West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re honored that CMC selected our great state as the home for this state-of-the-art facility, set to be one of the most environmentally friendly steelmaking operations in the world. The Mountain State has a proud history in the steel industry and this investment is yet another example of West Virginia welcoming this industry into our state.”

    CMC turns scrap into new, sustainable steel products by recycling more than 19 billion pounds of metal each year. CMC steel is featured in our nation’s highways, bridges and industrial structures. The new facility in the Eastern Panhandle is expected to have the capacity to produce 500,000 tons of straight-length rebar and a premium spooled rebar. Spooled rebar boasts less waste, increased productivity and improved safety.

    “We would like to thank Governor Jim Justice, the entire West Virginia economic development team, and Berkeley County staff for the support provided during CMC’s site selection process and for the welcome given to this important project,” Barbara R. Smith, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of CMC said. “We look forward to becoming a vital part of the Berkeley County community and growing our presence in the Mountain State.”

    CMC provides customers with the lowest emissions steel in the market as every CMC mill uses electric energy and 100% recycled scrap to produce products. Building on its foundation as a metals recycling company, CMC created the world’s first successfully operating micro mill – a plant with a smaller footprint that uses energy more efficiently than traditional mills.

    “CMC will be a tremendous asset to West Virginia and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Mountain State,” West Virginia Secretary of Economic Development Mitch Carmichael said. “There’s no doubt that West Virginia is the best place for this micro mill.”


    View CMC Factsheet | View CMC Sustainability Factsheet


    About Commercial Metals Company

    Commercial Metals Company and its subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and fabricate steel and metal products and provide related materials and services through a network of facilities that includes seven electric arc furnace (“EAF”) mini mills, two EAF micro mills, one rerolling mill, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, and metal recycling facilities in the United States and Poland. Through its Tensar division, CMC is a leading global provider of innovative ground and soil stabilization solutions selling into more than 80 national markets through two major product lines: Tensar® geogrids and Geopier® foundation systems.

    Written by: Jordan Damron,; CJ Harvey,

    Original Article

  2. Clorox opens cat litter plant in Martinsburg

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    The first bag of cat litter to come off the production line at the new Clorox production plant in Martinsburg was cut open during a Friday morning ceremony.

    The 97,000 square foot plant, which will produce the company’s Fresh Step and Scoop Away products, starts out with more than 100 workers, more than 80 of them from West Virginia.

    “We’ve found there’s really a great number of skills and readily available to come work at the plant,” Clorox Vice President of Product Supply Services Michael Holly said during a Friday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

    The company has a partnership with nearby Blue Ridge Community and Technical College to help train the workers. Clorox presented Blue Ridge with a $10,000 check Friday to express the company’s thanks for the ongoing partnership.

    Holly said the Martinsburg site at Tabler Station meets the company’s needs to get its products closer to the east coast.

    “We already have a great operation in Kansas but we have found we need to expand and with a lot of consumers over here on the east coast and towards the northeast it has been a great project for us to expand to be able to meet business needs,” Holly said.

    He also noted that having the plant along the north-south I-81 corridor and being close to railroad operations in Winchester, Va., as keys in the site selection.

    Holly said West Virginia has been a good business partner.

    “It’s really been an amazing reception here where we’ve really been met with an attitude of finding solutions for those challenges and working together on those and that’s been an amazing part of bringing this project to light,” Holly said.

    Clorox plans to be in full production by early next year. The company has also built a 450,000-square-foot warehouse down the road from the plant.

    U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito along with Gov. Jim Justice all put out statements welcoming Clorox to West Virginia.

    Clorox also has charcoal operations in West Virginia through its Kingsford brand located in Beryl (Mineral County) and Parsons (Tucker County).

    Clorox also announced Friday that it’s giving a year supply of cat litter to the Berkeley County Humane Society along with a $5,000 donation.


    Original Article by Jeff Jenkins on

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  3. Steel manufacturer announces $2.7 billion mill in Mason County

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    Nucor Corp. has selected Mason County as the location for a state-of-the-art sheet steel mill, West Virginia officials announced today.

    The announcement has been strongly rumored for a week, and lawmakers passed a bundle of incentives aimed at the company in a special session over the past few days.

    State officials say the record investment will exceed $2.7 billion, making it the largest in West Virginia history, as well as the largest single investment Nucor has ever made.

    Gov. Jim Justice

    Gov. Jim Justice was unable to make the announcement in person today because of a Tuesday diagnosis of covid-19. The governor is being treated at home. But Justice did praise the announcement in a prepared statement.

    “This is a landmark announcement in the history of our state,” Justice stated. “Nucor’s brand new facility is going to be a key part of West Virginia’s DNA long into the future. It’s going to change lives by bringing hundreds of great-paying jobs to Mason County, and the economic ripple effects will bring even more goodness to our state.

    “I sincerely thank Nucor for their commitment to West Virginia and for allowing us to showcase our ability to compete with other states for major manufacturing facilities like this. It took a team of people to pull this off, and I am immensely proud of all those involved.”

    ALSO: Zero-emission, all-electric school buses to be manufactured in West Virginia

    Nucor Corporation, the largest steel producer in the United States, is a Fortune 150 company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nucor produces steel by recycling scrap metal in electric arc furnaces, making the company North America’s largest recycler of any material.

    This steelmaking process makes Nucor one of the cleanest steel producers in the world and a leader in sustainable steel production.

    “We are incredibly excited to be building this new steel mill in West Virginia. This will be the world’s most advanced sheet steel mill producing the most sustainable steel that will build our nation’s modern 21st century economy,” said Leon Topalian, president and chief executive officer of Nucor Corporation.

    “This is a transformational project that will have a significant economic impact in Mason County and surrounding areas. We look forward to being part of the community for decades to come.”

    Upon completion, the mill is expected to create about 800 manufacturing jobs. Construction of the state-of-the art facility, which will begin in 2022, is expected to create an additional 1,000 jobs. Nucor employs 28,000 people at about 300 facilities located primarily in North America.

    The mill will have the capacity to produce up to 3 million tons of sheet steel per year for the automotive, appliance, HVAC, heavy equipment, agricultural, transportation and construction markets.

    It will also include advanced downstream processing capabilities, including a tandem cold mill, annealing capabilities, and initially two galvanizing lines. Galvanizing capabilities will include an advanced high-end automotive line with full inspection capabilities as well as a construction-grade line.

    Nucor expects the Mason County facility to be operational by 2024. The company said it looks forward to breaking ground in Mason County and becoming an active member of the  community by partnering with colleges and universities on workforce development programs, supporting veterans’ organizations and local food pantries, and working with opioid recovery programs that will provide meaningful pathways to jobs.

    Jonathan Pinson

    “This is a large move. This is a large step,” state Delegate Jonathan Pinson, R-Mason, said in voting for the incentives package Tuesday.

    Amy Nichole Grady

    State Senator Amy Nichole Grady, R-Mason, told WMOV Radio she is excited about how the announcement will affect the county.

    “It means a lot. It means good jobs. It means a lot of investment, more investment after this company comes in,” Grady said. “This doesn’t only affect Mason County, but it affects surrounding counties. This is a big thing, not only for Mason County but West Virginia in general.”

    The company also announced it is considering building a transloading and processing center in the northern part of the state to create a broader logistics network and better serve its customers in the upper midwest and northeast regions. This facility would create additional jobs in the state.

    “This historic investment validates the hard work of West Virginia’s elected leaders to advance pro-business policies that generate investment and jobs,” stated Suzanne Clark, president and chief executive officer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    West Virginia competed against our neighboring states, especially Ohio and Pennsylvania, to attract the company. The process began in August 2021 and included site location assistance, data analysis, and relationship developments throughout the state.

    Officials said the coordinated effort of state, local, and regional organizations made West Virginia a leader during the competitive site search.

    Mitch Carmichael

    “This is an enormous accomplishment for the great state of West Virginia,” said state Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael. “There was a lot of hard work and dedication that went into making this a reality and there’s no doubt that West Virginia is the best place for this steel mill.”

    Bills that lawmakers adopted in special session included a bundled set of incentives for the company, including tax breaks and funding for site preparation.

    The incentives bill builds on tax breaks already in code but is fairly narrowly defined: the beneficiary has to be a manufacturer, has to be qualified as a labor-intensive industrial manufacturer, has to invest at least $2 billion for manufacturing equipment and has to hire at least 500 full-time employees.

    The qualifying company could receive tax credits valued at 50 percent of its manufacturing investment. The credit is available year after year until it is exhausted. West Virginia also would provide up to $315 million in matching funds for the company’s infrastructure investments over three phases.


    Originally written By Brad McElhinny for WV Metro News

  4. Deep brain stimulation may ease opioid addiction when other treatments fail

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    Doctors at West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute are testing the experimental procedure on patients for whom other treatments didn’t work.


    As James Fisher awaited experimental brain surgery he underwent recently, he wondered whether it will be the treatment that finally helps him get his addiction under control.

    The tiny electrodes surgeons implanted in the reward center of his brain are designed to carry electrical stimulation that could, in theory, help drown out the constant craving he feels for benzodiazepines, his drug of choice.

    Fisher, 36, who lives in West Virginia, is the third patient enrolled in a clinical trial being conducted at West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. To be included in the study, which uses a technique called deep brain stimulation, patients must have gone through numerous rehabilitation efforts that didn’t work and suffered multiple overdoses.

    At first, Fisher, who had been using drugs since high school, easily found doctors willing to write prescriptions for his social anxiety. When that stopped working, he began buying from friends and eventually started stealing from strangers to get the money to pay for drugs. Initially it was just “benzos,” but later he moved on to prescription opioids and then heroin.

    After four nearly fatal overdoses, he had jumped at the chance to participate in the trial.

    “I don’t want to die,” Fisher told NBC News before the surgery. “I don’t want to live that miserable life of being sober and still wanting something and not being able to get it.”

    As part of an NBC News series, “One Nation Overdosed,” “Nightly News with Lester Holt” was given access to West Virginia University’s experimental trial as surgeons implanted wires in Fisher’s brain to treat his severe opioid use disorder.

    Image: X Ray
    In the West Virginia University addiction trial, tiny electrodes are implanted in a part of the brain that evolved to reward behaviors such as seeking food and sex. W. Virginia University

    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been used successfully for decades to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Doctors at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute developed the technique for worst-case drug addiction on the theory that targeting one of the brain’s reward centers — the nucleus accumbens — with tiny sparks of electricity could quiet powerful cravings, allowing the brain regions involved in judgment and decision-making to be heard, said principal investigator Dr. Ali Rezai, executive chair of the institute in Morgantown.

    Drugs such as benzodiazepines and opioids hijack the reward system and once users are exposed, they need more and more of the substances to get the rush of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine.

    “Our hypothesis was that by using the DBS in this part of the brain, we would essentially be normalizing the dopamine levels,” Rezai said. “In addiction, the rewards part of the brain releases dopamine when the drug is taken and people feel good. And then they want more next time to get to the same feeling.”

    For Parkinson’s patients, electrodes are implanted in the parts of the brain involved in movement. In the addiction trial, the electrodes are implanted in a different part of the brain, an area that evolved to reward behaviors that keep the species going, such as seeking food and sex. Dopamine is released when those goals are accomplished, as well as at times when people are experiencing natural beauty, such as a particularly colorful sunset or an emotive piece of music.

    When the surgery to implant the electrodes is complete, doctors switch on the deep brain stimulation device. For Fisher, the results were immediate and startling. The depression, anxiety and irritability are gone, replaced by a feeling of calm and comfort, like “a warm blanket.”

    “It’s like night and day,” he said.

    Fisher’s surgery was at the end of July. After four weeks, he told NBC News he feels “fantastic” with no craving to use drugs.

    Two months later, he is still sober.

    “I’m willing to do what it takes to get my brain back to normal,” Fisher said. “I hope that I can get back to that period before I started using benzos. Just being naturally happy — enjoying music again, enjoying food again, enjoying seeing a smile on somebody’s face.”

    Image: James Fisher
    “I’m willing to do what it takes to get my brain back to normal,” James Fisher said before the experimental treatment for his opioid addiction. NBC News

    The initial phase of the trial, which began with the first patient in 2019, is designed to test the safety of the treatment and will eventually include four people with severe substance use disorders. A second phase with 10 patients will test how well it works in keeping people off drugs.

    The need for additional treatments for opioid addiction is urgent. In 2020, during the pandemic, drug overdose deaths spiked to record levels of more than 93,000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, were responsible for 60 percent of the deaths.

    According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there were 18.9 million people ages 12 or older in 2019 with a substance use disorder and 16.3 million misusing prescription drugs.

    Based on the experience of Gerod Buckhalter, the first patient to have the surgery at the institute, Fisher’s chances of long-lasting sobriety are good.

    Buckhalter, 35, became addicted to prescription opioids after a shoulder injury when he was 15. Despite numerous stints in rehab and scary overdoses, he wasn’t able to shake his addiction. He immediately signed on when he was offered a chance to be the first patient in the trial.

    Once the electrodes were implanted, the researchers turned on the device. The effect was dramatic.

    “I didn’t find joy in living,” Buckhalter recalled. “When they turned it on, of course, I didn’t know what was going to happen in the future, but at that time I knew if I could continue to feel the way that I was feeling right then, that I would be OK.”

    He says he hasn’t used even once in two years. He still goes to therapy and takes Suboxone, a compound medication designed to help with opioid addiction. But staying away from opioids is a lot easier after the surgery.

    Buckhalter’s recovery from the 2019 brain stimulation procedure was first chronicled by The Washington Post in June.

    Experts caution that the results are preliminary and not a guaranteed cure. Of the three initial patients, one relapsed and is no longer in the trial. Even if the institute’s trial shows that it can help some people with untreatable substance use disorders, broader use is still years away.

    “There is a lot of research where there have been positive findings initially and then they don’t prove to be that reproducible,” said Dr. W. Jeffrey Elias, a professor of neurological surgery at the University of Virginia Brain Institute. Even so, he says the concept and early findings are exciting.

    “We are understanding more and more about the brain circuitry, especially with reward and addiction issues, and so we have very precise tools to target the brain,” he said.

    Dr. Ausaf Bari, an assistant professor and director of functional and restorative neurosurgery at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, compares the device to a pacemaker for the heart.

    “One of the things people are trying to use DBS for is to specifically change the brain circuits involved in craving and relapse,” he said. “Just like a pacemaker treats abnormal rhythms of the heart, we can use DBS to fix abnormal rhythms in the brain.”

    In future studies, researchers may have to individualize the exact spots they use DBS to target, Bari said. Sparking different parts of the brain may yield different responses. Until researchers and patients try it, they won’t know how to get the most effective response, he said.

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    Original Article: By Kate Snow, Linda Carroll and Lauren Dunn / From NBC News