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West Virginia is sharing part of more than $43 million in federal funds to help states with parks, outdoor recreation and conservation projects. The U.S. Department of Interior said West Virginia is getting more than $463,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to go for things like baseball fields and community green spaces. It also allows states and local governments provide public access to rivers, lakes and other water resources, expand the interpretation of historic and cultural sites, and conserve natural landscapes for public outdoor recreation.
A woman has pleaded guilty in the stabbing death of a St. Albans woman. 28-year old Megan Marie Hughes pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact after being charged in the January death of 66-year old Nancy Lynch. Timothy Shafer and Jessica May Wilson are charged with murder, burglary, robbery and grand larceny. Shafer goes to trial Monday and Wilson's is delayed. Hughes will be sentenced August 14th and faces 1 to 15 years in prison on burglary charges, because she went back to the home to steal things while the body was still in the home over a 2-week period. She faces 1 to 5 years on the accessory after the fact to murder charge.
After running into asbestos problems, Freedom Industries plans to start dismantling its tanks Monday. The company has delayed the teardown multiple times. Freedom stalled its start last weekend because of asbestos issues in tank gaskets and elsewhere. Freedom is under state orders to demolish its Charleston site, where a leaky tank contaminated the water source downstream. A spokesperson said the site should be cleared out in three or four weeks, but the company is proceeding slowly and carefully. Freedom then must remediate the chemical damage done to the site.
Campaign officials say Republican Shelley Moore Capito raked in more than $1.3 million for her West Virginia U.S. Senate bid last quarter, while Democrat Natalie Tennant raised about $777,000. Congresswoman Capito's campaign called the haul her best fundraising period to date. Capito has almost $5 million available in campaign cash. Tennant, West Virginia's secretary of state, is headed into July with $1.5 million in the bank. Campaigns for the two candidates released fundraising numbers Wednesday before their July 15 reporting deadline. Capito and Tennant are vying for retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat.
The group Imagine Charleston has unveiled plans to change traffic patterns in Charleston. Some of the one-way streets would become two-way streets under the plan, which city planners hope would be better for businesses. Streets like Virginia, Randolph and Patrick Streets could be converted to two-way traffic and could give a boost to the West Side, and it's part of a larger revitalization plan that would also include wider streets and new landscaping. Right now the plan is in the idea phase.
Rep. Paul Ryan will hit the campaign trail in Charleston next week to tout Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's bid for U.S. Senate. Ryan was the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee for Mitt Romney. Capito's campaign says Ryan will be in West Virginia's capital Monday afternoon to talk about fiscal issues. The same day, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will campaign for Capito's opponent, Democratic West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. Tennant will roll out an education plan at the Eastern Panhandle event. Capito and Tennant are vying for retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller's seat.
Kanawha County commissioner Dave Hardy wants County Prosecutor Mark Plants to resign. There's something called a "Plants Defense" happening, where defendants who have been charged with the same exact crime as the prosecuting attorney go to court and ask for the same deal Plants received. That's bond and an education program instead of a harsher penalty. Hardy says it makes him sick:
At a special meeting of commissioners Tuesday, Hardy called the Plants situation a financial burden on county taxpayers and asked for Plants' resignation. The Kanawha County Commission meets next on July 24th.
West Virginia has launched the third phase of a project incorporating state agencies under one computer system. The new system, called wvOASIS, will allow agencies to use one system to manage accounts, personnel, and assets. The third phase launched on Tuesday involves financial, procurement, and treasury applications. Governor Tomblin says in a news release that wvOASIS will replace nearly 100 administrative systems. There is a help desk set up to help state employees and vendors learn to use the new system.
A big swim competition starts today at the University of Charleston. More than 500 swimmers are scheduled to compete in the City National Bank Kanawha Valley Summer League Swimmig Championships starting today. Cross Lanes is a heavy favorite to win as it defends its title. The swimmers compete in the evening for the next three days, and the competition starts at 9:30am Saturday on the final day.
A Kanawha County strip mine has been approved and the Keystone strip mine is going up on a mountaintop right next to the Kanawha State Forest. But not without controversy. Nieghbors in the Loudendale area and environmentalists voiced concerns last night at a public meeting, and many pushed to get the mine's permit pulled. WCHS TV reports there is an appeals hearing with the surface mine board scheduled next month. A lawsuit is also in the works.