Breaking Local News
A task force has organized to do something about stained pier murals under I-64, that were compromised by drainage over time. Charleston's Strong Neighborhoods Task Force talked about it at a meeting this week, and revealed that about $62,000 was spent paying artists for the murals, and it started in coordination with FestivALL. The Daily Mail says about $10,000 more was spent at local businesses for supplies. The murals can be cleaned with dish detergent and a sponge, but the bigger issues is stopping the drainage. The task force plans to meet with the state Division of Highways to decide what to do.
Marshall, West Virginia University and Virginia Tech are among the schools in a magazine's competition to determine who has the top college football tailgate parties in the South. Southern Living's September issue that hits newsstands Friday has 15 colleges in the running for "The South's Best Tailgate.'' Voting is happening at SouthernLiving.com through September 30th.
Federal investigators are looking into a contract between an Ohio supplier and a West Virginia Division of Highways equipment office. FBI agents and West Virginia State Police troopers seized records and documents from a DOH facility in Buckhannon on Wednesday. The company has a state contract to supply parts for DOH mowers. State records show DOH employees are allowed to use state purchasing cards to buy MoTrim parts. No arrests, and the agency is cooperating in the investigation.
More than 120 miles of river habitat for an endangered fish are now under federal protection in West Virginia. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the protection of the diamond darter's habitat this week, saying the "critical habitat'' designation covers 28 miles of the lower Elk River in Kanawha and Clay counties in West Virginia along with space in Kentucky. It requires federal agencies to ensure that federally funded or permitted activities will not harm darters or their habitat. The diamond darter was protected under the Endangered Species Act last month. The tiny fish was considered extinct until scientists rediscovered it in West Virginia in 1980. Fewer than 125 of them have been seen over the past 30 years.
A 2014 trial date has been set in a lawsuit by three South Charleston High School students who claim Kanawha County education officials could have protected them from alleged sexual abuse by a former Junior ROTC instructor. A circuit judge on Tuesday set an April 28 trial date. The Charleston Gazette reported the students are suing the estate of Edwin Albert Smuda and the county Board of Education. The board denies the lawsuit's claims. According to the lawsuit, some students had stayed at Smuda's home and accompanied him on vacations, and parents had complained about Smuda's inappropriate behavior toward some of his male students. Smuda was charged in 2011 with molesting a teenager. Smuda was found hanged in an apparent suicide in New Jersey in July 2012.
A consulting firm thinks the state Department of Health and Human Resources would be more efficient if it were split into two part. State lawmakers were told Tuesday that the study by Public Works LLC suggests the 5,700-employee department be restructured into divisions focusing on health care and human services. The Charleston Gazette says the current 36 boards and commissions could be merged into three primary commissions on healthy lifestyles, clinical medical care and payments for services. It recommends that the Office of Inspector General focus on Medicaid abuse and fraud.
The wife of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum took over as interim sheriff when her husband was killed earlier this year, and now she has resigned. In a letter to county commissioners she said she had mixed emotions about stepping down after four months. She said it's a big undertaking, and the sheriff's office needs a qualified person who can dedicate the time and attention it deserves. Crum recommended that Dave Rockel serve as sheriff, who was Sheriff Dugene Crum's task force commander and chief field deputy. Rosie Crum's resignation is effective September 4th
Kanawha County is going to give the contractor a chance to make repairs at Coonskin Park before any legal action is pursued. David R Bowen had an agreement to clean up damage from last year's derecho, but allegedly went beyond the scope of the agreement and now has to make good on the damage. He's also paving some sections torn up by logging equipment.
Those with a valid concealed carry permit can legally carry handguns in three more states. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says Alabama, Georgia, and Colorado have passed reciprocity agreements, meaning West Virginia concealed carry permit holders can carry in those states. The toal number of states on the concealed carry list now has grown to 35, and West Virginia has reciprocity agreements with 27 of them.
Police arrested a protestor Wednesday who is linked to the Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival Group, or RAMPS. David Baghdadi was arrested for trespassing and obstruction after he chained himself to a barrel of dirty water a few steps away from the governor's mansion at the State Capitol. The group says it was trying to draw attention to inadequate water supplies and poor water quality in places.