The 304 The Gazette-Mail's Data Center

Yesterday President Barack Obama visited Charleston to lead a forum on drug abuse. The event was held at the Roosevelt Center on the East End.

Here are a few quick visuals using the latest available data of drug overdose deaths in West Virginia.

You can read a transcript of yesterday’s event here.

2015 Drug Overdoses

To go along with my story in Wednesday’s Gazette-Mail, here’s an interactive map using data on overdoses in West Virginia for 2015.

By clicking on each county, you will see the total number of overdoses this year (through July), how many are attributed to heroin and the county’s overdose death rate (which is based off of 2014 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau).

It should be noted the data used in this map is preliminary and is subject to change, following the conclusion of toxicology reports.

The source was the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

Justice spent $80,000 on 453+ television ads

This week gubernatorial candidate Jim Justice launched the first ads for West Virginia’s 2016 election, which you can view here.

The Gazette-Mail’s David Gutman interviewed Grant Herring, a spokesperson for Justice earlier this week, about the advertisements.  Herring said the ad would air in “heavy rotation” in markets around the state but he declined to release the amount spent on the ad buy. 

So I decided to find out.

This is kind of an arduous process but that’s all it is. It is not impossible thanks to the Federal Communications Commission’s political files. Essentially these “political files” are a library of information for every single political ad that runs on television. This includes ads on all levels – national, state and local.

Because I had some time today I looked up the political file for every TV station in West Virginia.

From there, I turned to the FCC’s political files, which are found here.

It was a bit of a process but here’s what I figured out about Justice’s ad buy:

For the week of Oct. 14 to Oct. 20, Justice spent $39,497 on more than 225 ads.

For the week of Oct. 21 to Oct. 27, Justice spent $41,494 on more than 228 ads.

Total those two up and Justice spent $80,991 on more than 453 ads that will air on 9 different television stations in West Virginia.

Why do I keep saying “more than” you might ask?

That’s because one station – WOWK – did not report exactly how many ads were purchased.

Every other station posted a breakdown of how many ads will run during which programs (in case you didn’t know the cost of ads changes depending on the program and the time it airs). WOWK has not posted said document – yet. It is possible they will add this to their FCC files.

Here’s a breakdown of how many adds were purchased at each station (with the area served and their network).

  1. 91 – WBOY (Clarksburg/NBC)
  2. 75 – WVVA (Beckley-Bluefield/NBC)
  3. 74 – WDTV (WDTV/CBS)
  4. 74 – WTRF (Wheeling/CBS)
  5. 69 – WSAZ (Charleston-Huntington/NBC)
  6. 48 – WCHS (Charleston-Huntington/ABC)
  7. 12 – WVFX (Clarksburg/FOX)
  8. 10 – WQCW (Charleston-Huntington/CW)

Again remember that WOWK is not on the list for the aforementioned reason.

Here’s a breakdown of the amount spent at each station:

  1. $25,475 – WSAZ
  2. $23,185 – WBOY
  3. $10,535 – WVVA
  4. $6,780 – WCHS
  5. $5,850 – WDTV
  6. $4,338 – WTRF
  7. $2,720 – WOWK
  8. $1,500 – WQCW
  9. $608 – WVFX

The ads that will be airing for the next two weeks will be on a variety of different shows. They include morning, midday and evening news programs, late evening shows (Jimmy Kimmel, the Tonight Show, Late Show), game or reality shows (the Price is Right, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, the Voice, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Dancing with the Stars) and other TV programs (Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Inside Edition, Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz,  The Good Wife, Criminal Minds, Rizzoli and Isles and Nashville).

Pre-candidacy filings for Oct. 5-13

We are officially 109 days away from the last day when candidates can file their candidacy paperwork to run for office in 2016.

On the election side, we are  210 days away from West Virginia’s primary election (May 10) and 392 days away from the general election (Nov. 8).

Here’s the latest roundup of the newest pre-candidacy filings that were submitted with the secretary of state’s office since I updated the 2016 Election Guide last week. You can find the guide here.


  • James Brennan of Princeton became the 14th person (4 Democrats, 4 Republicans, 3 Independents, 1 Libertarian, 1 constitution, 1 unaffiliated) to file pre-candidacy papers to run for the state’s highest office. He filed as an independent on October 7.

House of Delegates

  • Riley Keaton (R-Spencer) joined the race in the 11th district, which was previously represented by Bob Ashley (R-Roane) who last month was appointed by the governor to fill David Nohe’s old seat.
  • James Merrill (D-Morgantown) joined the race in district 51. He becomes the fourth new candidate (three Democrats – John R. Williams, Michael Wolfe – and one Republican – Eric T.R. Finch) to enter the race.

    The district is currently made up of four Republicans (Cindy Frich, Brian Kurchaba, Amanda Pasdon and Joe Statler) and one Democrat (Barbara Evans Fleischauer). Thus far Frich and Pasdon are the only incumbents who have not filed their pre-candidacy papers.

State Senate

  • Thomas H. Ewing (R-Hico) is the first challenger to enter the race in District 10, which is currently represented by Bill Laird (D-Fayette), who hasn’t filed his pre-candidacy papers yet.


  • Anthony Bisaha (Princeton, Family Court Judge, 12th Circuit Division)
  • Patricia Tolle Hill(Morgantown, Family Court Judge, 20th Circuit Division 2)
  • Randal Minor (Morgantown, Family Court Judge, 20th Circuit, Division 1)
  • William Douglas Witten (Parkersburg, Circuit Court Judge, 7th Circuit, Division 1). Witten was appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in July.

An update on the latest filings for 2016 election

Here are the newest pre-candidacy filings that were done since I last updated the 2016 Election Guide, which you can find elsewhere on this blog.

House of Delegates

  • Thomas C Combs (D-West Union) enters the 6th district race for the seat currently held by Delegate William Romine (R-West Union), who previously filed pre-candidacy papers to seek re-election.
  • Billy Jack Chaffin II (D-Barboursville) enters the 18th district race for the seat currently held by Delegate Kelli Sobonya (R-Barboursville). Sobonya is running for re-election and no one else has entered the race.
  • Thomas R. Tull (D) enters the 38th district race for the seat currently held by Delegate Patrick Lane (R-Cross Lanes). Lane has filed undeclared pre-candidacy papers. Tull enters an already crowded field, alongside Democrat Harvey Peyton (Nitro) and Republicans Nancy Reagan Foster (Scott Depot), David A Bender (Cross Lanes) and Bob Keller (Cross Lanes)
  • Rod Snyder (D-Shepherdstown) enters the 67th district race for the seat currently held by Delegate Stephen Skinner (D-Shepherdstown), who is running for state Senate. Also running are Republicans Daniel Swisher (Harpers Ferry) and Riley M. Moore (Harpers Ferry).

State Senate

  • Greg Smith (D-Parkersburg) enters the 3rd district race for the seat currently held by Donna Boley (R-Mineral Wells), who has filed to run for re-election. Samuel Winans (R-Parkersburg) is the only other potential candidate to previously enter the race.

U.S. House of Representatives

  • Marc Savitt (R-Martinsburg) enters the 2nd district race for the seat currently held by Alex Mooney (R). Mooney is expected to run for re-election. Fellow Republican Kenneth Reed (Charleston) has previously filed paperwork.


  • Christopher Workman (Chapmanville – Family Court Judge)
  • Theresa Cogar Turner (Elkins – Family Court Judge)
  • Carrie Webster (Charleston – Circuit Court Judge)

Attorney General

  • Mark A Hunt (D-Charleston) becomes the second Democrat to enter race seeking to challenge incumbent candidate Patrick Morrisey (R-Charleston), who is running for re-election. Democrat David Higgins previously filed papers to run.

West Virginia School District Salary Database

The following database contains the 2015-2016 salaries for every single employee in the Berkeley, Cabell, Kanawha and Harrison County School Districts.

Curious about what a teacher, administrator or janitor makes – all you have to do is search the database below.

You can leave the entire form blank and look at more than 9,600 salaries in the four school districts. Sort each column by clicking the header at the top.

You can also search by beginning to type in the first or last name of an employee. Type in a name and the searchbox will automatically complete your search, like Google.

Looking for a few employees in an individual school building – like Sissonville High School or all maintenance workers? You can easily search them by utilizing the dropdown menus next to Position or School/Department.

It should be noted, the source for the information used in this database were obtained from both school districts.

As more schools respond to our request for their payroll, we will add them to the database.

But for now, enjoy.

Welcome to the Gazette-Mail’s world of data

Hello again friends of the Internet.

Welcome to the Gazette-Mail’s newest and coolest blog. The whole purpose is give you as much access to data, info graphics, interactive maps and important links to disclosure and government transparency as possible. It is clearly a work in process and we here at the Gazette-Mail Data Center will work diligently to provide you with the latest and most relevant information possible.

Some of the things I hope to provide in the future are a few different searchable payroll databases, maps on crime and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and some links to other websites that you might find valuable.

There may be some bumps along the way as we work on building up the data center, so please bear with me.

If you have any suggestions, thoughts or notice anything that needs tweaked, as always, feel free to email me –

For now, the Data Center consists of two pages – the 2016 Election Guide, which I plan on regularly maintaining, and the $80,000 pension club, which I hope to expand into a database of every single pension recipient in West Virginia.

Enjoy – more to come next week.