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Putnam county commissioners this week voted to move forward with waterline extension projects in Custer Ridge, Sigmon Fork, Painters Fork and Trace Fork. Putnam County has about $50,000 set aside so far, and could apply for a low-interest rate loan with the state Infrastructure Jobs Development Council for more. In all, it's a $2.3 million project, and some questions were raised about adding that kind of price tag onto existing debt in Putnam County.
Enrollment at Mountain State University has dropped significantly after the loss of accreditation. Interim vice president Thomas Mann says 1,080 students are enrolled in a teach-out plan now. Two years ago, the school had 9000 students. Mann told the Register-Herald that about 300 students are attending classes at the Beckley campus and 550 are online students. Others are pursuing independent studies or are in specific programs. Mountain State officially loses accreditation December 31 after a decision this summer by the Higher Learning Commission. The University of Charleston has taken over Beckley and Martinsburg campuses so students can complete their degrees.
It's a brake inspection blitz this week at weigh stations across West Virginia. It's not something passenger cars have to worry about, but commercial vehicles will have to stop as state regulators inspect commercial vehicle brakes as part of an effort to raise driver awareness about safety. The safety inspections will be conducted at weigh stations on southbound Interstate 64 in Winfield, southbound and northbound Interstate 77 in Mineral Wells and southbound and northbound Interstate 79 in Fairmont. Brake Safety Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday.
Analysts still seem to think gas prices should fall as we get further into autumn, but we have yet to see evidence of that. In fact, fuel prices are flirting with the $4-a-gallon mark in West Virginia. Triple A's weekly Fuel Gauge report says the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the state is now $3.90, up more than 1 penny from a week ago. That's higher than the national average of $3.84 and up by about 25 cents from last year. Prices at pumps in Charleston are in the $3.90's, according to gasbuddy.com
It's a grace period of sorts for Kanawha 7th and 12th graders who have yet to receive the required vaccinations. With the start of this school year students are required to receive meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccines entering seventh- and 12th-grade. A deadline of August 31 has come and gone, and some students are still without the vaccines and some parents are still in the dark about the new rules. School nurses are sorting through the paperwork and trying to determine who still needs shots, and while that's happening the students are allowed to stay in school. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has a walk-in clinictoday for seventh- and 12th-grade students still need shots. It runs from 8 to 4.
Police continue to investigate after a man was killed in a shooting Monday in Charleston. A woman is recovering after being shot in the arm. Police say 40-year old Roy Chambliss of Charleston was the man killed at his home on Picadilly Street, and 20-year old Natalie Sprouse was the woman wounded. Sprouse told police she, Chambliss and another man were inside the home when Daniel Little knocked in the door, along with Jarod Washington trying to sell guns. There was a struggle, and that's when the shots were fired. Little has been arrested and arraigned. He was charged with first degree murder and first degree robbery. Investigators are still searching for Washington.
Some parents spoke out at this week's Kanawha County School Board meeting about overcrowding in schools, particularly Overbrook Elementary in the South Hills area of Charleston. The biggest increase there has come in kindergarten classrooms. Concerns were brought up about crowded lunchrooms and a shortage of textbooks which requires students to share. The school board says they'll continue to look into it.
Kanawha County Chief Circuit Judge Duke Bloom this week ruled the California-based loan company, Cash Call, must pay a $13 million civil penalty and cancel the debts that West Virginian's still owe. This comes after an investigation by the West Virginia Attorney General's office that started five years ago. Customers reportedly complained the company was charging 90 percent interest rates. Consumer protection laws here limit the rate to 18 percent. The judge ruled Cash Call used predatory lending practices and harassed those who fell behind on their payments.
Don't be alarmed on Wednesday if you see several emergency responders on the UC campus. It's a mock emergency drill that will bring local law enforcement and other agencies together to test their ability to respond to emergencies. If weaknesses or slow response times show up, it will be highlighted as an area to improve. Students at the University of Charleston and professors and staff already know about the drill. The exact time of the drill hasn't been revealed, but we do know it will be sometime after 8am. During that time, access to campus will be limited and traffic may be diverted on MacCorkle Avenue.
Charleston Police have arrested a robbery suspect on Charleston's West Side. Police say 49-year old Melvin Murray of Charleston, was arrested early Monday after being accused of punching a man and knocking him to the ground, then stealing his watch near Elm Street and Virginia Street West. The victim was walking home after visiting his cousin when he was stopped by two men. His description of the attacker helped police track him down. Murray was charged with first-degree robbery and is in the South Central Regional Jail.