Breaking Local News
Flood warnings were abundant yesterday as heavy rains moved through West Virginia before giving way to significant snowfall today. Schools in at least 18 counties sent students home early due to high water and other storm-related issues Wednesday. State transportation officials say a rock slide closed one lane of southbound Interstate 77 near the Jackson-Wood county line. After flooding concerns yesterday it's the snow today. Up to 10 inches of snow was forecast by the time it's all finished today. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issed a State of Emergency that will be in effect as long as needed.
A water monitoring project developed by Trout Unlimited is seeking volunteers to monitor West Virginia streams. The West Virginia and Virginia Water Quality Monitoring project says the volunteers are being recruited amid concerns about increased shale gas development and its potential impact on water quality. The program trains volunteers find and report potential pollution, and volunteers also collect baseline data in watersheds with the potential to see shale gas development in the future. To date the monitoring program has trained 170 volunteers. The next training for interested volunteers will be on March 14 in Elkins.
Call 304-637-7201 to learn more.
A push to drug test some welfare recipients is dead in the West Virginia Legislature. On Wednesday, Republican bill sponsor Del. Patrick Lane confirmed the bill was done for the session. The House voted to table the bill Tuesday. Yesterday was the final day to pass bills out of at least one chamber. The Senate version of the welfare drug testing bill hasn't passed, either. In the West Virginia bills, drug testing would have been based on reasonable suspicion. The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 12 states have passed laws requiring drug testing for public assistance. West Virginia's 60-day legislative session by the way, concludes March 14.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office is investigating a missing person from the Jefferson and Saint Albans areas. 33-year old Francis Ann Wartenburg was last seen around February 21, 2015. In the photo that's been released she's seen with short brown hair and brown eyes. If you have information on where Francis Wartenburg is, call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip at www.kanawhasheriff.us/law-enforcement/tips.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is putting state resources at the ready ahead of potentially severe weather. Tomblin issued his "state of preparedness" on Tuesday with the prospect of heavy rains, snow and the possibility of flooding today. He says he's mobilizing the West Virginia National Guard to assist. Tomblin urged West Virginians to develop their own plans and to be mindful of neighbors and older residents if harsh weather arrives. The state of preparedness statute was passed last year to allow the governor to mobilize necessary resources ahead of predicted severe weather or large-scale threats. The powers are similar to those involved in a state of emergency but allow for additional preparations in advance of the expected event.
If you have a homeowners insurance policy in Dunbar, you may see rates go down. The city's fire department got a ratings boost recently from the Insuarance Services Organization after an audit, and with the rating increasing from a Class 4 to a Class 3, which marks continued improvement for Dunbar. The last time the city fire department was audited they moved from a 5 to a 4, and lower is obviously better. Ratings improve with equipment, training, and manpower.
South Charleston and Dunbar have won state approval to proceed with plans to reduce blight. The West Virginia Home Rule Board this week approved the cities' request to allow them to issue citations on the spot for code violations, rather than taking violators to municipal court. The move will allow the cities to address problems such as trash, high grass and dilapidated buildings. South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens tells WSAZ-TV that his city's goal is to get property owners to fix the problems, not to fine them. But if a problem persists, he says the city will take action. City councils in each city will have to approve ordinances allowing on-site citations before they can be issued
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has again vetoed a bill banning abortion 20 weeks after conception, citing constitutionality concerns. Lawmakers only need a simple majority to overturn policy vetoes, and Republicans now control the state legislature. Governor Tomblin nixed the bill Tuesday, saying he urged lawmakers to find a compromise and stressed his anti-abortion stances. The bill provides some exemptions for women in medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest. Proponents have cited moral grounds. Opponents say it's unconstitutional and intrusive into doctor-patient relationships. Both bills resemble a law struck down in Arizona in 2013 that the U.S. Supreme Court later decided not to reconsider.
A search firm is coming to Marshall University to gather information about what students, faculty and others want to see in their next university president. The consultants are scheduled to hold meetings again today, through Wednesday in Huntington. Their feedback will be given to the university's search committee. An open forum for faculty will be held today at the Memorial Student Center. Students, staff and other interested parties also are invited to attend.
You've got the chance this month to review and comment on the state's proposed new hunting, trapping and fishing regulations. The Division of Natural Resources has scheduled 12 public meetings across the state on the regulations. They include 2015 regulations for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear and boar, proposed 2016-2017 general hunting and trapping regulations and proposed 2016 fishing regulations. The DNR says the public meetings also will provide information on the state's new electronic licensing and game check system. Public meetings will be held March 16 in Fairmont, Princeton, Martinsburg, Milton, Flatwoods and Harrisville. On March 17, public meetings are scheduled in Glen Dale, Moorefield, Elkins, Fayetteville, Logan and Parkersburg.