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The weather may cause travel delays today, with rain and heavy snow expected for much of the East Coast and the Appalachians. West Virginia may escape the major snow accumulations, but meteorologists do expect snow in the higher elevations, and you'll see it in spots if you travel outside the state. Crissy Gray, Triple A Charleston District manager, says if you're traveling make sure you're prepared for weather-related situations:
Today is one of the busiest travel days of the year for the West Virginia Turnpike, and Sunday is expected to be THE heaviest travel day of the year.
West Virginia University's board has scheduled a special meeting to discuss the possible purchase of Mountain State University's campus in Beckley. The meeting is set for Dec. 5 in Morgantown and the possible purchase is the only item on the agenda. This comes after the two schools entered into an exclusive agreement to evaluate the possible purchase. The agreement allows WVU to explore the private Beckley-based school's facilities, location, academic programs, student services, learning opportunities and other areas. Mountain State closed after it lost its accreditations in 2012 and then the University of Charleston took over Mountain State's campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg so students could complete their degrees. UC plans to move out of the Beckley facilities at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.
Federal authorities have seized nearly $28,000 from an allegedly illegal gambling operation in Martinsburg. The complaint says Big Bucks Bingo operated a charitable bingo license for FOP Lodge 83, which represents police in Morgan, Jefferson, and Berkeley Counties. The FOP lodge had its nonprofit status revoked in 2010, the complaint says, which rendered Big Bucks' charitable operation illegal. The complaint says the FBI seized cash from Big Bucks Bingo in June. It says the proprietors of Big Bucks Bingo failed to inform the FOP that their nonprofit status had been revoked.
Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick has filed a formal complaint against West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant over a possible campain violation. McCormick says on October 22nd when Tennant was running for US Senate, stood on the steps of the entrance to the Voter Registration Office where early voting was being conducted, and held a short rally with supporters. McCormick said West Virginia code prohibits that. Tennant has apologized for the incident, but she maintains she didn't do anything wrong.
The buck firearm season is underway in West Virginia, and it's a profitable time for many businesses. The Department of Natural Resources says deer hunting in West Virginia nets $230 million annually. Hunters should keep in mind that everyone hunting must have at least 400 square inches of blaze orange. Hunting season in West Virginia runs through December 6th. Kentucky started November 8th and ran through the 23rd. In Ohio, the season kicks off next Monday, December 1st.
A teenager died Sunday in Putnam County after the Jeep she was in flipped into a creek. The Sheriff’s Department has identified the girl as 16-year old Olivia Marie McCormick of Yawkey in Lincoln County. The accident happened in northern Putnam near the intersection of Coal Hollow and Heizer Creek roads. The sheriff's office says the vehicle was submerged when first responders arrived. A man was able to escape but McCormick wasn’t, and the likely cause of death was drowning.
More West Virginia circuit court records are expected to go digital in 2015. The West Virginia Supreme Court is implementing a pilot electronic filing project in 14 counties. The Exponent Telegram reports civil cases are being filed electronically in Marion and Jefferson counties now and court officials hope to begin e-filing all case types by the first of next year. E-filing is expected to begin in Lewis County in the spring of 2015 and in Harrison and Upshur counties by July 2015. Other counties participating are Braxton, Randolph, Berkeley, Clay, Hampshire, Lincoln, Morgan, Ohio and Wood.
Help could be on the way for the troubled Slack Street Recycling Center. As the owner of the center continues with a contract dispute and financial trouble, the recyclable material keeps piling up, and some of it is being shipped off to Raleigh County to the landfill there. The Kanawha County Commission will talk about options tomorrow, like whether to puruse grant funding, or come up with some other way to run a recycling service, which by law the county is required to have.
The Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission has settled a civil lawsuit related to a park logging operation after the 2012 derecho. The Charleston Daily Mail reports the commission voted recently to settle the lawsuit filed against David Russell Bowen's company, Russell Trucking. Parks Commission Attorney Chuck Bailey says the $50,000 payment to the commission is the maximum amount covered by the company's insurance policy. Earlier this year a jury cleared Bowen of charges that he illegally took hundreds of trees in Coonskin Park and cut and sold timber. Kanawha County had hired Bowen's company to remove debris after the derecho. Bowen said he had permission to cut trees in the park and did nothing wrong. The lawsuit had sought triple the estimated $144,000 value of the timber removed.
Federal prosecutors in the southern district of West Virginia collected $7.8 million in criminal and civil fines and penalties in the last fiscal year. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Friday the southern district's collections included nearly $2.9 million from criminal actions, $2.4 million in civil actions and $1.9 million in asset forfeiture. Goodwin says the total represents more than 1.5 times the total annual operating budget for his office. In the northern district, U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld has said collections totaled more than $13 million in criminal and civil fines.