Breaking Local News
Department heads at West Virginia State Agencies are dealing with the news that they've got to cut spending by 7.5 percent for the fiscal year that begins next July. This comes because of slow growth in state tax collections and rising Medicaid costs, not to mention a sluggish coal mining industry. A significant funding gap is expected, and there may be as much as $100 million in cuts across the board. Governor Tomblin's administration is deciding now whether West Virginia should expand Medicaid coverage to families with incomes of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is part of the new federal healthcare package.
Putnam County school board members learned this week that a new program aimed at keeping ninth graders from dropping out of school appears to be working. The board heard from Superintendent Chuck Hatfield, who said just seven ninth graders dropped out during the last school year, compared with 37 two years earlier. Innovation Zone funding aids the dropout prevention programs.
Bluefield State College has a new President. Marsha Krotseng comes to the school from North Dakota, where she was vice chancellor of strategic planning and executive director of the College Technical Education Council at the North Dakota University System. Former Bluefield State President Albert Walker has moved on to become President at Harris-Stowe State University in Missouri. Krotseng is the first female president at Bluefield State, and will start her new job as early as September.
An accident Monday night left a 40-year-old clinging to life, and he was pronounced dead by the time he arrived at St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington. The single-vehicle crash on Route 3 in Hamlin. State police said Leeroy Allen Halstead was a passenger, and was trapped in his vehicle and had to be cut out before the ambulance could take him to the hospital. The driver of the vehicle was not hurt.
Kanawha County is diving deeper into an effort to save the recycling program. A new task force will study the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority's finances, and then the goal will be to come up with a plan to keep recycling going. Five months ago the Solid Waste Authority's governing board voted to shut down the Slack Street Recycling Center in Charleston over safety issues. That has since re-opened as a drop off point. Between five and ten members will be chosen for the task force, and they'll aim to come up with a new plan for the county's recycling efforts within 45 days.
Members of East End Main Street want zoning changes in the Corridor Village District of the East End Community Renewal Plan. The Charleston Renewal Authority will be asked today to modify current zoning rules in the East End plan by pointing out specific types of businesses that would be banned along Washington Street. That includes adult businesses, bail bonds, cash-for-gold, pawn shops, gambling establishments, and storage facilities. If the Renewal Authority approves, the Municipal Planning Commission will consider the issue this afternoon. Ultimately, City Council would need to pass an ordinance to change the East End plan.
A woman involved last week in a head on collision on Interstate 77 has died. 68-year old Diana Douin died over the weekend. State Police say she crossed the median and hit a tractor trailer head on Thursday night near the Sissonville exit.
A Charleston woman has been sentenced for distributing crack cocaine. 29-year old Cary White previously pleaded guilty, admitting she and another sold crack cocaine to a confidential informant working with the West Virginia State Police. White was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison.
A highway that has seen several recent accidents will be studied. Kanawha County sheriff's deputies have responded to more than 20 accidents since April on a stretch of I-77 in the Sissonville, and state highway officials want to know why there have been so many. Depending on the results of the study, cable barriers could go up in the median to prevent crossover accidents.
Last year was a good year for the West Virginia Lottery, ending with an $81 million surplus. Lottery officials have said as Ohio adds casinos, ticket sales in West Virginia are impacted. Pennsylvania race tracks and plans for a new large casino in Maryland may also have an impact. The lottery plans to come up with new ways to promote West Virginia's own casinos in the coming years.