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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is putting state resources at the ready ahead of potentially severe weather. Tomblin issued his "state of preparedness" on Tuesday with the prospect of heavy rains, snow and the possibility of flooding today. He says he's mobilizing the West Virginia National Guard to assist. Tomblin urged West Virginians to develop their own plans and to be mindful of neighbors and older residents if harsh weather arrives. The state of preparedness statute was passed last year to allow the governor to mobilize necessary resources ahead of predicted severe weather or large-scale threats. The powers are similar to those involved in a state of emergency but allow for additional preparations in advance of the expected event.
If you have a homeowners insurance policy in Dunbar, you may see rates go down. The city's fire department got a ratings boost recently from the Insuarance Services Organization after an audit, and with the rating increasing from a Class 4 to a Class 3, which marks continued improvement for Dunbar. The last time the city fire department was audited they moved from a 5 to a 4, and lower is obviously better. Ratings improve with equipment, training, and manpower.
South Charleston and Dunbar have won state approval to proceed with plans to reduce blight. The West Virginia Home Rule Board this week approved the cities' request to allow them to issue citations on the spot for code violations, rather than taking violators to municipal court. The move will allow the cities to address problems such as trash, high grass and dilapidated buildings. South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens tells WSAZ-TV that his city's goal is to get property owners to fix the problems, not to fine them. But if a problem persists, he says the city will take action. City councils in each city will have to approve ordinances allowing on-site citations before they can be issued
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has again vetoed a bill banning abortion 20 weeks after conception, citing constitutionality concerns. Lawmakers only need a simple majority to overturn policy vetoes, and Republicans now control the state legislature. Governor Tomblin nixed the bill Tuesday, saying he urged lawmakers to find a compromise and stressed his anti-abortion stances. The bill provides some exemptions for women in medical emergencies, but not for rape and incest. Proponents have cited moral grounds. Opponents say it's unconstitutional and intrusive into doctor-patient relationships. Both bills resemble a law struck down in Arizona in 2013 that the U.S. Supreme Court later decided not to reconsider.
A search firm is coming to Marshall University to gather information about what students, faculty and others want to see in their next university president. The consultants are scheduled to hold meetings again today, through Wednesday in Huntington. Their feedback will be given to the university's search committee. An open forum for faculty will be held today at the Memorial Student Center. Students, staff and other interested parties also are invited to attend.
You've got the chance this month to review and comment on the state's proposed new hunting, trapping and fishing regulations. The Division of Natural Resources has scheduled 12 public meetings across the state on the regulations. They include 2015 regulations for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, black bear and boar, proposed 2016-2017 general hunting and trapping regulations and proposed 2016 fishing regulations. The DNR says the public meetings also will provide information on the state's new electronic licensing and game check system. Public meetings will be held March 16 in Fairmont, Princeton, Martinsburg, Milton, Flatwoods and Harrisville. On March 17, public meetings are scheduled in Glen Dale, Moorefield, Elkins, Fayetteville, Logan and Parkersburg.
March is Black History Month and Charleston Police have announced plans to honor five people to celebrate. Chief Brent Webster will be giving the “Charleston Finest” award to lawyer Teresa Chisolm, U.S. Marshal John Foster, Denise Foster, the Rev. Ronald English and the late Sgt. Harvey Bush in a ceremony this morning at Charleston City Hall in the council chambers. Anyone can attend.
The West Virginia Senate education committee on Monday heard opinions on Common Core standards, and most who shared thoughts seemed to agree there is room for improvement. Many leaders in education want to keep some form of Common Core, and some parents and lawmakers want to move in another direction. State Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano want to give the new standards more time rather than eliminate them now. After the House passed a bill over the weekend departing from Common Core standards, the Senate bill continues moving at the committee level.
A bill repealing Common Core has made it out of a House Committee. The House Education Committee moved the bill to the full House, and several supporters of the repeal rallied outside the Capitol on Wednesday. The Charleston Gazette reports educators spent countless hours developing the Common Core lessons to teach the math and English/language arts standards, which are based on the national Common Core blueprint and were only fully implemented in the Mountain State this school year. And the cost for developing them was around $42 million. Students are being tested based on the Common Core standards this spring, while legislation that could change that makes its way through the state house.
The attorney general's office is warning West Virginians to beware of callers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says his office has been flooded with calls from people who have received voicemails from someone claiming to be from the IRS. The caller demands a call back to discuss a tax matter.
Morrisey says this week alone his office has received more than 150 calls about the scam. He urged residents to resist the come on. Morrisey says the IRS never calls a taxpayer to demand payment.