Breaking Local News
Putnam County schools are getting a financial boost. The West Virginia Department of Education approved a $300,000 grant this week that will allow Putnam County Schools to hire someone to help at-risk students choose a career path. The grant application was denied earlier this year, but was approved this week after more money became available. Innovation zone grants allow schools to try out new, research-based strategies to improve student learning.
The West Virginia Board of Education has voted to fire State Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. There was no specific reason given for the termination. And right after the termination, Board of Education members Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden announced their plans for resignation. Marple's termination is effective yesterday, and Deputy Superintendent Chuck Heinlein will manage the department for now.
St. Louis-based Patriot Coal is phasing out mountaintop removal and other forms of strip mining. There is currently a strip mining machine in use along the Boone-Lincoln County line, and the company says phasing out processes like these are in the best interests of the company and the communities where it operates. In a court settlement, Patriot agreed with citizen groups that it won't seek new permits for large-scale surface-mining operations. Some smaller mining projects will continue, but when leases expire, eventually all strip mining will stop.
A woman reportedly started shooting at 34-year old James Galloway Thursday morning after he entered a home in Putnam County, and then he ran down the street as she fired shots. Galloway is accused of stealing a car and fleeing from Putnam County toward Charleston. West Virginia State Police saw the car on Interstate 64 headed toward Charleston and pulled him over near Laidley Field. He tried to run, but was arrested after a brief chase.
Today was the deadline for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to notify the federal government about whether West Virginia will create its own online health insurance exchange or leave it to the federal government. In a late development yesterday, the deadline was extended, giving states another month to decide. West Virginia is among eight undecided states, and some say the extra time is meant to coax those states into setting up their own exchange. There are several reports that the governor and his administration had decided against a state-run exchange and will let the federal government operate it, but no final decision has been announced.
Former Lincoln County commissioner Thomas Ramey Jr. had hoped to avoid prison time for his role in an election fraud scheme, but was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison Thursday. Ramey resigned from office in August and pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about his handling of fraudulent absentee ballots when he was a county commissioner. Then-Sheriff Jerry Bowman and then-Clerk Donald Whitten also pleaded guilty in the scheme and received prison time.
More attention is being drawn to recent graffiti in Charleston. in fact, even MSNBC has picked up on the story. Just this week the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services had some of it's vehicles tagged with the word "DICE." That word has been something of a recurring theme over the past few weeks on vehicles, buildings and sidewalks. The Salvation Army in Charleston has been among the places hit, as well as homes along Roane Street and the Health Net building along Wyoming Street. Charleston police are investigating, and don't thing the vandals are targeting any specific area of the city. There are many examples of DICE graffiti posted online.
Students in Kanawha County won't get out of school early the day before Thanksgiving, but they will be released early the following Wednesday. The dismissal date is wrong on the Kanawha County Schools calendar for November 21. That will be a full day. But there will be an early dismissal on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has come to an agreement on plans for cleaning up the Ravenswood smelter. The EPA has signed an agreement with TRC Companies Inc., TRC Environmental Corp., and Ravenswood Holdings Company to clean up the waste pile at Century Aluminum's smelting site in Jackson County. TRC has agreed to repair and maintain a rubber membrane liner on the waste pile to prevent cyanide from escaping into soil and groundwater.
Saving for college could get easier. West Virginia's SMART529 Direct Plan college savings program will see some changes that Treasurer John Perdue expects will make it easier for parents to save for their child's college education.
Investments primarily will be made in Vanguard funds which can keep costs low, and the minimum contribution requirement will be eliminated. Details were announced Wednesday at a news conference in Charleston.