Breaking Local News
In case you missed it, living in Dunbar means you have to keep your lawn nice and neat. The city council this week passed an ordinance regarding overgrown lawns, that requires property owners to keep their grass under nine inches high. Fines can go up to $500 for those that let the grass get too long. The new ordinance also aims to keep junk and trash bags out of the yard. Anything that devalues the property becomes a target.
A bank robbery early yesterday morning at the Charleston Town Center mall has police investigating. Two men with guns robbed the United Bank branch just as the bank was getting ready to open. Charleston police report one of the two men banged on the glass at the bank, and when a bank employee came near, he allegedly pulled a gun and aimed it at her through the glass. She let the men into the bank. The men went through cash drawers and took off with an undisclosed amount. They were caught near Martin Luther King Center and Washington Manor. 40-year old Billy Reed of West Virginia and 20-year old Anthony Williams of Florida were arrested. Police say the men had been staying at the shelter on Leon Sullivan Way.
The Kanawha County school system is looking into its own books, after it was discovered more than a million dollars in overtime pay went to 86 maintenance workers last year. The WV Gazette reports some workers were paid a few hundred dollars extra, but at least two workers were paid over $40,000 more. In some cases, maintenance workers doubled their salaries with over time pay, and just the amount of the overtime pay was equal to, if not above, a teacher's salary. The school board has launched an immediate investigation.
It's possible that Charleston will move its recycling center from the current Slack Street location over to Sissonville. The Slack Street location is over a hundred years old and shows its age, so a three-acre site near Sissonville is being considered. The Solid Waste Authority decided this week to hold off on signing a lease for the new space until after questions about renovations are answered. A contingency plan is in the works in case the proposed move would fall through.
If you're headed to the mall this weekend, pardon the dust. Renovations are underway now at the Charleston Town Center Mall. Crews are working mostly overnight and they'll continue that all the way through October. New flooring is going in on all three levels, restrooms are being renovated, and new custom lighting is going up. Right now it's a lot of demolition work, and the third floor should be through that phase in the next few days.
A West Virginia law currently threatens anyone who discloses an elections complaint with a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine and jail time. But now that's been lifted, and effectively someone accused of violating an elections law will be able to publicly defend themselves. Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom said the blanket gag order was an overly broad restriction of speech, and ruled it unconstitutional. Yesterday, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said she'll start confirming whether an investigation is underway.
Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller laid out some targeted thoughts on the coal industry yesterday. Rockefeller called for an end to "scare tactics" by coal companies from the U.S. Senate floor and announced he'll oppose a Republican resolution seeking to block the Obama administration's rules to curb mercury and other toxic air emissions from coal-fired power plants. Rockefeller said that concerns about coal's pollution and its impacts on global warming are real, and trying to block new regulations is a waste of time and resources.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has announced a Japanese auto maker has plans to expand its West Virginia truck assembly plant. The expansion by Hino Motors manufacturing would add 20 jobs and pump $3 million into the economy. U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin were on hand for the announcement since they helped bring Hino to West Virginia. Earlier this month the Governor was on a 10-day trade mission to Japan, and said then he hopes to have more announcements about Japanese companies setting up shop and expanding in West Virginia.
Kanawha County leaders are moving closer to a decision on whether to move the county recylcing center or leave it where it is. The recycling center sits now on Slack Street, and officials are considering moving that to a warehouse in Sissonville. The Slack Street building is a century old and is in a state of disrepair. A final decision could come by the end of the month.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has extended the tax relief to the counties hardest hit by flooding in February and March. That includes Lincoln, Logan, and Wayne counties, and they'll receive the extension until July 14. There are eleven counties affected in all, and residents in some of those counties are still not back in their homes. They'll have some relief from the state, since the extension suspends sales tax on housing supplies for those affected residents. The West Virginia State Tax Department has more information.