Breaking Local News

Ginseng Season Is Underway

Ginseng diggers are heading to West Virginia's forests as the season for harvesting the plant opens. West Virginia's ginseng season began Monday and runs through Nov. 30. Ginseng dealer Dave Cook tells The Charleston Gazette that he expects a good harvest this year, based on this summer's climate and the success of last year's season. Ginseng diggers have until March 31 to sell the roots to a registered ginseng dealer in state. March 31 also is the deadline for diggers who don't sale their ginseng to obtain a weight receipt from the West Virginia Division of Forestry. The receipt allows diggers to possess ginseng from April 1 through Aug. 31.

Young Mother Still Missing in Boone County

We're going on a week now, and a young mother of four is still missing. 26-year old Ashley NIcole Toler of Boone County was last seen Friday, August 22nd. Troopers say she left the house that morning to catch the bus to school where she was working on her GED, and she hasn't been seen since. Her grandmother dropped her off, and she reportedly told her boyfriend and childen she'd see them that night. Her children are age 8 and under. Anyone with information on where Toler may be should call the WVSP Boone County detachment at (304) 369-7800.

Mayor Wants To Move On Regarding Gardner Case

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones wants to focus on other things, and thinks it's time to move on from a case where the son of a state Supreme Court justice was accused of beating up his sister and leaving her in a ditch. The mayor said earlier this week he wanted prosecutors to look into it further even though charges had been dropped because it didn't seem typical, but later came back and said the Kanawha County prosecutor’s office has the jurisdiction to decide. Edward Gardner had been facing a malicious wounding charge, but that was dropped for lack of supportive evidence. Last month in Nitro, Gardner was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of marijuana and will be in Kanawha Magistrate Court in that case Sept. 30.

Several Area Health Groups Receive Federal Funding

Six community health groups in West Virginia will receive nearly $1.5 million in federal funding to support facility improvements for patient-centered medical homes. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced the funding this week through the Affordable Care Act. The grant recipients include Womencare in Scott Depot and the Lincoln County Primary Care Center and Huntington-based Valley Health Systems. Nationally, more than $35 million was awarded to 147 health centers in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

PSC Chair Removes Himself From Chemical Spill Investigation

The state Public Service Commission's chairman has removed himself from an investigation into a water company's response to a January chemical spill. The Charleston Gazette reports PSC Chairman Mike Albert cited his previous work as an attorney representing West Virginia American Water in stepping down from the spill investigation. Albert says he wants to avoid a disruption and distraction in the investigation.

Jury Trial Still Pending For Plants

It's not clear yet when a trial might happen for Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants. He wants a jury trial on two misdemeanor charges, but for now he's entered into and completed the first class of an eight-month batterer's intervention program in Putnam County. A special prosecutor wants him to first complete the program first, and Plants wants a trial because there's no guarantee charges will be dropped after he does it. WCHS TV reports Plants is scheduled to go before a three-judge panel next month in an effort by the Kanawha County Commission to have him removed from office.

Funding Denied For Putnam County Bridge; Other Options Considered

Hurricane is entertaining its options to replace a bridge at Hurricane City Park, after the Putnam County Commission denied a funding request that would have provided enough money for it. The city requested $25,000 in funding that would have likely come from tax-increment financing, which allows government entities to fund economic development projects, according to the Charleston Gazette. The agencies use the projected increase in property taxes that occurs because of the improvements to the district. In the end though, the commission said no. The bridge project would replace a single-lane bridge at the entrance of the Hurricane City Park, adjacent to Route 34. There have been concerns over the bridge's safety. The city hasn't given up, and is tossing around other ideas about how to fund it.

Gambling Revenues Up, But Impacted By Competition

Gambling at The Greenbrier gave the West Virginia Lottery's revenue a boost in July. The Charleston Gazette says the resort's table game revenue increased 148 percent to $457,715. Video lottery revenue rose 32 percent to $429,575. That helped lift the Lottery's overall revenue to $101 million, up from less than $100 million in June. July revenue though was down about 4 percent compared to July 2013. Lottery Director John Musgrave says competition from casinos in neighboring states continues to affect the state's four racetrack casinos. Racetrack table game revenues dropped by $639,000 to about $4 million.

Settlement Announced After Dupont Leak

A $1.275 million settlement has been reached after the chemical company Dupont allegedly released hazardous materials that were a threat to the Kanawha River. And one worker died after exposure to a leak of toxic gas. The EPA and the Department of Justice announced the settlement Wednesday, after the leak in May 2006 and January 2010 at the Dupont Belle location, according to a news release from the EPA. DuPont will pay the penalty and will take steps to make sure procedures are correct and comply with government regulations. DuPont estimates that it has spent more than $6 million to comply so far.

Some Lawmakers Call For Delay in Storage Tank Inspections

State House and Senate leaders want the governor to call a special session to over the above-ground storage tank law. WCHS TV reports House Speaker Tim Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler asked Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to call the session during next month's interim meetings. They are slated for Sept. 8-10. The two lawmakers said the Jan. 1 deadline for above ground storage tank inspections in the law is unattainable.

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