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What to do to keep tourists coming to West Virginia in the wake of the checmical spill that impacted water supplies....that is the issue facing the state's tourism industry. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is talking with Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette and other tourism officials about developing a promotional message in the wake of the spill, according to the state Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver. Funding, a slogan, and potential markets haven't been determined yet. The campaign funding would be in addition to what the state already spends on tourism promotion.
West Virginia 4-H members will learn about community leadership and policy-making at a three-day retreat in Charleston next week. The second annual West Virginia University 4-H Civic Engagement Forum is set for March 2-4. In recognition of the Cooperative Extension Service's centennial, the theme for the forum is "The Next 100 Years are Yours." Former prisoner of war and West Virginia native Jessica Lynch will give opening remarks at the forum, which concludes with a trip to the Capitol for WVU Extension Service's Day at the Legislature.
The West Virginia Senate has postponed voting on a bill to raise all teacher salaries $1,000. The bill was scheduled for a vote on Tuesday but has been held over until today. The bill also sets a goal to increase the state's minimum salary for entry-level teachers to $43,000 by 2019. The minimum salary in West Virginia is currently $27,917. According to the West Virginia Education Association, the state ranks 48th in the country for teacher pay. The bill also sets around a 2 percent raise for school service personnel. If passed by the Senate today, the bill will advance to the House.
More now on the murder case involving a daughter who allegedly killed her mother. The body of Eva Woods was found in a shallow grave in a shed behind her property near St. Albans,and her daughter Jessica Woods has been arrested for her murder. Kanahwha County deputies have also arrested Shawn Legg in the case, charging him with accessory after the fact to murder. Legg is named in the criminal complaint, and told deputies he had been dating Jessica Woods for about two weeks.
The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill to shoot down municipal gun control laws in cities like Charleston. The bill prohibits cities from creating ordinances to restrict selling or carrying guns and ammunition, but they could still enforce local gun ordinances in government buildings like courthouses and city halls. West Virginia cities with local gun ordinances include Charleston, Dunbar and Martinsburg. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said he's against the legislation. He said he's concerned about citizens having the right to carry weapons to public pools, parks and other areas where children play. Bill sponsor Sen. John Unger said the bill is meant to make gun laws uniform at the state level and protect Second Amendment rights. The bill has moved to the House.
The company behind the January 9th chemical spill that led to the water crisis had a day in bankruptcy court Tuesday. At Tuesday's meeting administered by a U.S. Department of Justice official, Freedom Industries President Gary Southern and Chief Financial Officer Terry Cline answered questions on company finances from a federal trustee and a handful of attorneys representing creditors. After the hearing, Southern told reporters he's "absolutely committed" to cleaning up environmental damage and finding jobs for 51 employees as the company winds down operations. Freedom is next scheduled in court March 4, when it will ask to hire a firm to collect electronic evidence for state and federal investigations and legal proceedings.
The Boone County Sheriff's Office is looking into the death of 16-year old Christopher Nelson, who died Monday. Christopher was a Sherman High School freshman who lived in Elkview. There's a vigil tonight at Racine Park in Christopher's honor, and students will take donations for his family. .
State wildlife biologists want to move the opening day of West Virginia's deer, bear and wild boar archery seasons to the last Saturday in September. Deer and bear archery seasons currently open on the Saturday closest to Oct. 1. The boar season begins on the Saturday closest to Oct. 15. Division of Natural Resources assistant wildlife chief Paul Johansen told the Charleston Gazette that the proposed change would simplify the seasons' openings for hunters, and other hunting seasons could be better spaced out. The West Virginia Natural Resources Commission would have to approved, and could discuss the changes in early May.
More than two dozen potential candidates' names have been submitted to West Virginia University's presidential search committee. A search firm will eventually receive the names to further narrow down the list. There are currently 31 applications or nominations that have been submitted. Former president Jim Clements left for Clemson University.
The daughter of a missing woman has been arrested for her murder. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says 36-year old Jessica Lee Woods of St. Albans was arrested Monday for the murder of her mother, Eva Linda Woods, who was last seen Friday outside her home. Woods body was found in a shed on the property behind her house on West Main Street, near Saint Albans, in a shallow grave. After an autopsy by the medical examiner, the manner of death was ruled as a homicide. Jessica Woods was arrested Monday morning at the Days Inn Hotel in Kanawha City and charged with murder, and awaits a preliminary hearing March 3rd.