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The West Virginia Tourism Commission has passed out it grants under the Matching Advertising Partnership Program. Grants total more than $1.2 million, although projects totalling more than $2.6 million were submitted to compete for the money. Among the grant recipients, $382,000 to Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and $184,000 to Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort. Over all casinos seemed to be big winners under the program. $209,000 went to the Fayette-Mercer-Raleigh County Winter Coalition, $71,000 to the American Mountain Theater in Elkins, and $26,000 to Country Road Cabins in Fayette County.
Students at South Charleston High School this week are mourning the death of their vice principal, Trecia Peterson. She died last week at the age of 52, after a long battle with breast cancer. Students held a candlelight vigil in her honor last week, and a memorial scholarship fund has been set up at the school that will honor students who overcome adversity. Peterson worked for the Kanawha County school system for 29 years, and she was a former state assistant principal of the year.
Every year, the Kanawha County Commission gives each fire department in the county $20,000, and now commissioners are asking for more paperwork to make sure the departments are being fiscally responsible with the money. In recent weeks, several of the departments still had not turned over copies of their federal form 990 tax documents, but of the 27 volunteer fire departments funded by the county, commissioners have at least partial documentation now from all but one. The Charleston Gazette reports the Smithers Volunteer Fire Department, which is in Fayette County but answers calls in neighboring Kanawha County has yet to turn over any paperwork. The Smithers department is under criminal investigation by state police, and may not receive any more funds from Kanawha County.
South Charleston may soon have an urban deer hunt. Residents have been concerned about the number of deer around the Thousand Oaks community and Weberwood area, and at a meeting conducted by state Division of Natural Resources, the idea of an urban hunt was discussed. A study is the next step.
Forty wild mustangs that have been removed from the range will be up for adoption this weekend. The Bureau of Land Management says the horsts range from yearlings to 5-year-olds, and will put them up for public adoption at the Good Evening Ranch near Canvas in Nicholas Countyon Saturday. You can preview the horses from 2 to 7 p.m. today, and then adoption hours on Saturday will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with adoptions being made on a first-come, first-served basis. The minimum adoption fee is $125, and it's possible you could take home a second "buddy" adoption for $25.
Court ordered raises are coming. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has been ordered by Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom to comply with his 2009 order requiring the raises for staffers who work with psychiatric patients. The Associated Press says Bloom issued the latest order after testimony in an ongoing case known as the Hartley case that first began in 1981 and covers the treatment of mental health patients. The latest court order will mean more than a half a million dollars in raises to staff at the state's psychiatric hospitals.
Mall administrators and engineers are assessing the damage today after a section of parking garage at the Charleston Town Center mall collapsed on Thursday. There were no injuries when a front end loader fell through the sixth floor of the parking garage onto the fifth. Work was being performed at the time, and it appears the weight of the equipment weakened the structure enough to cause the collapse.
If you haven't noticed it simply driving around, the official word from the state Division Forestry shows the fall colors are looking sharp and beautiful around West Virginia. The leaves in the New River Gorge are very close to peak, just in time for this weekend's annual Bridge Day where daredevils will be jumping and ziplining along the steel arch bridges. Overall, the Division of Forestry says Fayette County is 85 percent peak. Counties including Kanawha, Nicholas, and Raleigh range from 70 percent to 90 percent peak. It should be a beautiful weekend for a drive.
A 2-year old boy died Wednesday, and a 25-year-old man is facing charges.
State troopers arrested Nicholas Daniel Turkale and charged him with murder and child neglect resulting in death. He's the boyfriend of the toddler's mother. The boy arrived at CAMC General Hospital on Monday, and the mother and Turkale said the injuries were caused when the boy fell from a sink in their home. Investigators think the boy died from a blunt-force injury to the head. Turkale will be arraigned this morning in Logan County Magistrate Court.
Charleston police are looking for a woman who robbed a convenience store Wednesday night. Police say the Exxon One Stop along Lee Street was robbed by a woman with a gun last night around 10:45pm. She fled on foot, and so far there's been no word of an arrest.