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Gasoline prices have dropped a bit more in West Virginia over the past week. AAA East Central says the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in the state is $3.53. That's less than a half-cent lower than a week ago and 12 cents higher than a year ago. Prices range from $3.75 in Martinsburg to $3.31 in Parkersburg. In Charleston, prices are averaging in the $3.50's, right around the state average. Nationally, gas prices average $3.41 this week.
Another new development in the firing or state superintendent Jorea Marple. A public interest group filed a lawsuit Wednesday with the State Supreme Court essentially asking for the firing to be voided. The suit alleges that the state Board of Education and its president, Wade Linger, violated open meetings laws by firing Marple November 15, by neglecting to list any discussion of her termination on the Nov. 15 agenda. The West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires state agencies to provide proper notice and purpose of public meetings, the action states.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources estimates about 330,000 people are expected to hunt deer this season. The gun season just got underway Monday and the two-week season runs throught December 1. Last year the agency says hunters bagged more than 60,000 bucks which was a 38 percent increase over the previous year. The harvest this year is expected to be about the same if not better.
The Charleston Area Medical Center will see some new additions after the West Virginia Health Care Authority gave its approval. The Gazette reports the health care authority issued certificates of need to the hospital for its new cancer center and another for the addition of 48 acute care beds to CAMC Memorial Hospital. Those are a necessary step before adding healthcare services and facitlities. CAMC has a campaign underway now that will raise $15 million for the new $40 million David Lee Cancer center. That should be done by 2014. There are also plans to add new floors to the Bradford Pavillion surgery building, which would likely be finished in 2015.
Storms in West Virginia have been costly this year. In fact, they've cost the state $370 million in 2012. The bulk of the storm damage and the pricetag to make repairs, stems from the June 29th storms. $340 million in costs are linked to that recovery. Superstorm Sandy left up to 2 feet of snow across the eastern portion of the state in October, and the preliminary numbers from Sandy are just over $30 million so far.
If you've ever thought about a career in law enforcement, now is the time to apply. The Putnam County Sheriff's Department is hiring as it expands its force. To apply, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. After training, deputies earn an average of $40,000 a year, according to a news release from the department. Applications are available now at the Putnam County Sheriff's Department Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The deadline to apply is Dec. 28.
A mine worker was injured Tuesday in an eastern Kanawha County mine. Dispatchers say the miner, a man in his 40s, was pinned between a wall and a machine called a "scoop" at Speed Mining in Cabin Creek. The man's injuries don't appear to be life-threatening, and he was safely brough to the surface.
St. Louis-based Arch Coal is seeking a strip mining permit for Blair Mountain from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The public comment period ends Friday. Those against strip mining on Blair Mountain are opposed over worries about the watershed, and also the history of the mountain. The 1,600-acre battlefield was briefly added to the National Register of Historic Places, and then removed when private property owners objected. Those who have challenged in court have lost.
There's been a pretty significant development after the firing of state superintendent Jorea Marple. Because Marple's firing may have violated the state's open meetings law, State Board of Education members will meet again next week to again consider her firing. The agenda for the meeting, scheduled for Nov. 29, was posted on the state Department of Education's website Tuesday evening and says the meeting will include the "reconsideration of termination of state superintendent of schools including public comment and the consideration of hiring a new state superintendent." Board members voted 5-2 to fire Marple at their Nov. 15 meeting, but the item was not listed on the agenda.
FEMA has extended the deadline for West Virginia residents to sign up for individual assistance. The original deadline was Monday, but those affected by the June 29th wind storms now have until Dec. 19 to make the request for assistance. The extension applies to residents in counties including Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, Nicholas, Roane, Tyler, Webster and Wood counties. If you have yet to register for assistance, you can call the FEMA hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA or log on at www.disasterassistance.gov.