Breaking Local News
It's been a year since financial trouble led to the Putnam County Health Department to lay off all of it's staff, but things have improved since then. Now the agency may get a new full-time manager of day-to-day operations. Lolita Kirk has been dividing her time as local health administrator for both the Kanawha-Charleston and Putnam health departments since the layoffs, and the Charleston Gazette reports the new manager position will be posted for applicants next week. The new administrator could be hired by the end of the year. The position will report directly to Dr. Rahul Gupta, the health officer and executive director for both the Putnam and Kanawha-Charleston departments.
Hospitals are double checking their emergency preparedness plans to know how to handle a possible ebola patient if one should need treatment. Cabell Huntington Hospital, Charleston Area Medical Center, King's Daughters Medical Center, and St. Mary's Medical Center all have plans in place to deal with an infectious outbreak. CAMC posted on its Facebook page in August that it has a special ICU designated to care for that person, and there's a team that has volunteered to take care of that patient. There's currently one ebola patient in Nebraska, and one in Dallas, and hospitals across the country are making sure they're prepared, at the advice of the CDC.
A recent advertising campaign is sparking a large uptick in unclaimed property claims in West Virginia. State Treasurer John Perdue's Unclaimed Property Division wrapped up its most recent campaign Friday, and the campaign led to increased phone and online activity from those seeking to see if they have unclaimed property. The treasurer's office also made plans to hold another online auction of items left behind in safe deposit boxes or items seized in law enforcement arrests. The most recent auction runs until Oct. 23.
West Virginia State University has raised more than $10 million as part of its first-ever capital campaign. The campaign was launched in 2010 but has since been re-launched upon the hiring of president Brian Hemphill. The Charleston Gazette reports the school in Institute also has set a new fundraising goal of $18 million by the year 2017. Funds go toward scholarships, academic programs, faculty support, campus improvements and other initiatives.
State regulators are being asked to approve a settlement about the transfer of an American Electric Power plant to a subsidiary. AEP wants to transfer partial ownership of the Mitchell Power Plant near Moundsville to Wheeling Power. The transfer had drawn opposition from consumer watchdogs and energy-efficiency advocates. The Charleston Gazette says that the parties filed a notice of the settlement last week with the Public Service Commission and asked for approval. Under the proposed settlement, AEP would increase spending on energy-efficiency programs.
West Virginia isn't rock bottom, but it's close, according to a new report. West Virginia ranked fourth-worst when 24/7 Wall St. rated states on quality of life. Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi fare worse than West Virginia. The report puts equal weight on nine factors that contribute to well-being. West Virginia had the worst score in the US for health, a high poverty rate, low voter turnout and with an undesirable homicide rate.
West Virginia’s own Bill Withers is on the list of nominees that has a shot at getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s Withers’ first nomination into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He's from Slab Fork, near Beckley, and if he gets in, he will be the fourth West Virginian to do it. The final nominees will be announced in December, and you can vote now in a special fan voting section at http://rockhall.com/voting/2015-rock-hall-nominees-fan-vote/. One of Withers' biggest hits was "Lean On Me."
Several flights from Charleston to Orlando have been cancelled, leaving passengers wondering how they're going to get there. People Express had a contract with Vision Air for 3 airplanes, but Vision Air only gave the company two planes. WCHS TV reports one of those planes had engine trouble, and the other is not working after a truck bumped into it. Refunds are on the way for those that had flights booked on People Express, and that could take 5 or 6 business days. Flights should resume in November.
County clerks in West Virginia are being told to accept marriage applications from same-sex couples. The move Thursday comes after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office would no longer fight a court challenge to the state's ban on same-sex marriages. Gay couples will use existing marriage license forms until the forms can be updated.
Charleston Police are increasing their presence on the West Side. At a meeting yesterday by the Charleston Urban Renewal board, a request was approved to give $100,000 to a program called "Project West Invest." A news release said it's a program that aims to increase home ownership, revitalize neighborhoods, and reduce crime on the West Side. The Charleston police department would like to have ten officers buy homes on the west side and live there for a minimum of ten years, with police cruisers parked in their driveways as a reminder that they're there. The money alloted would help the officers buy the homes and add some renovations. There is also $100,000 coming from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation for the project.