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On the final day of the 2013 regular session of the State Legislature Saturday, lawmakers stayed late to address final bills and tie up loose ends. One bill that died in the House, was a measure that would have given pay raises to magistrates. Earlier Saturday, the Senate passed a version of the bill that would have increased pay for 12 magistrates and staff in 12 counties. But that bill didn't make it out of the House. It's possible Governor Tomlin could add it to a special session.
More West Virginia cities and towns will have a chance to join the home rule program after lawmakers voted Saturday to extend the pilot program for another five years. They also kept limits on gun control ordinances added by the House. Four cities taking part in the home rule experiment, including Charleston, credit the program for fee cuts, reduced blight and less red tape. Saturday's compromise bill invites up to 16 additional cities and towns to apply. But the bill also only allows participants to ban firearms from most municipal property except parking garages. Concealed weapon permit holders could have guns on city-owned property that have no government operations, such as parks or swimming pools.
The new Mingo County Sheriff, Rosie Crum, was at work this week, one week after her husband, Eugene Crum, was murdered. Tennis Maynard has been charged with Sheriff Crum's murder. Rosie Crum took part in a courthouse ceremony for children who lost their lives because of abuse and neglect. Tonya Webb, a supervisor at Child Protective Services, said Sheriff Crum was always up for helping Child Protective Services, and loved the children of Mingo County. Inside the courthouse, Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks said a system failure allowed the man accused of killing the sheriff to get a gun he never should have been allowed to have. In what Sparks called an "inexcusable delay," mental issues that should have barred Maynard from buying a gun did not make it into the national system. The gun dealer ran a background check but it showed no problem.
Charleston Police had been looking for the man who robbed a bank this week in Kanawha City, and an arrest in the case was made late Thursday afternoon. Police say a man walked into the Fifth Third Bank at 4515 MacCorkle Avenue, pulled out a handgun and demanded money Thursday morning around 9:20am. After getting an undisclosed amount of cash, he took off down the alley. 40-year old Danny Summers of Dunbar has been arrested and charged with Robbery. The same bank was robbed last June.
The West Virginia Board of Education want input on teacher evaluations. As the board forms new policies, this is your chance to help mold it. Education officials say the revised educator evaluation system promotes professional growth and development that advances student learning in West Virginia schools. The board also is seeking comment on changes to the issuing of high school equivalency diplomas, including allowing students in state correctional or residential facilities to earn their high school diploma through the Option Pathway Program. Officials say educators, parents and community members are encouraged to review the policies and make suggestions.
If you love Kanawha County, let it be known...on Facebook. Sen. Jay Rockefeller is asking West Virginians to vote for their favorite county as part of a new contest in concert with West Virginia's 150th birthday in June. West Virginians are being asked to vote by liking the picture of their favorite county in a Facebook photo album featuring photographs of each of the state's 55 counties. Visitors to the social networking site to also share special stories and memories from a particular county. The contest ends on June 20, which is West Virginia Day. The winning county will be featured in photographs as Rockefeller's cover photo throughout 2013.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Kanawha County Commission and Law Enforcement Agencies in Kanawha County will announce the kickoff of the 8th Annual “Operation Graduation Prom Alive” today. (Thursday) Each season for the past seven years, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office has coordinated patrols around the county at post-event gatherings. Operation GPA is an “Aggressive-High Visibility- Zero Tolerance” Program that targets those who choose to drive under the influence and/or use drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication illegally. The extra patrols are made possible by the Kanawha County Commission and funds from the Public Safety Levy.
The price of gas continues to fall in the mountain state. Larry McKay reports:
The Triple A's weekly fuel gauge reports a 4-cent decline in the price per gallon of gas since last week. The statewide average is 3-dollars, 65-cents a gallon, which remains higher than the national average of 3-dollars, 58-cents.
Sen. Joe Manchin is part of a new bipartisan effort to expand background checks to more gun buyers. Manchin, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania said their agreement would help keep firearms from criminals and the mentally ill. The checks would now apply to commercial sales, like transactions at gun shows and online. The sales would have to be channeled through licensed firearms dealers, who would have to keep records of the transactions.
Manchin said that since the slayings of school children and educators in Newtown, Conn., both sides in the gun debate must find common ground. Toomey said he considers expanded background checks common sense, not gun control. The NRA released a statement saying expanding background checks will not prevent the next shooting.
The Kanawha County Board of Education is considering sponsorship of an excess levy in support of the public library.
The state supreme court legally ended the schoolboard's funding requirement earlier this year, effectively slicing 3-million dollars from the library budget.
School Board President Pete Thaw says he has no problem with sponsoring an excess levy for the library, but he says he's against an uncapped levy for the board: