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Now that Christmas is over and you might be thinking about taking down the tree, the US Army Corps of Engineers says they have a use for it. Donating the tree to Jennings Randolph Lake will help fish in the lake near Elk Garden and help improve the shoreline. Park ranger Tom Craig says trees help build nursery habitat for juvenile fish and are beneficial to aquatic insects that most species feed on. A trailer will be set up at the West Virginia Overlook gate about 2 miles from the park entrance off W.Va. 46 beginning January 2nd and trees will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 31. Just be sure to remove decorations.
US Senator Joe Manchin is a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association and well-known gun supporter. After the Newtown, CT shootings the senator was one of the first to come out ask for stricter controls on assault weapons. At a protest Saturday at Manchin's Charleston office, the pro gun group called Citizens Defense League gathered to protest Sen. Manchin's changed stance on guns. Manchin defended his stance last week.
Mountain State University is officially losing accreditation. The school had appealed to regain its accreditation, but that was denied last week by the appeals panel of the Higher Learning Commission. Beckley's Register Herald reports that's the final word and there will be no more appeals. The Higher Learning Commission's decision to remove Mountain State's accreditation came in June, adn the the commission approved the University of Charleston's expansion to Mountain State's facilities in Beckley and Martinsburg. In effect, the recent denial of Mountain State's appeal completes the UC takeover. There are still lawsuits pending by former students who say the loss of accreditation renders their degrees worthless.
Being sick at Christmas is not exactly what most families have in mind. Public health officials in West Virginia say flu activity is up 63 percent since last week. The Intelligencer reports that positive tests for influenza at hospitals statewide and the state laboratory topped off at 165 for the week ending Dec. 15. Public health officials are urging West Virginia residents to get a flu shot this season. During the holidays travel is up and there are family gatherings, and both provide opportunities for the flu virus to spread. Flu season typcially runs through February or March.
Charleston police say after an argument between a boyfriend and girlfriend the man broke in using a grill's propane tank. 40-year old Johnny Chandler of Charleston is accused of stealing his girlfriend purse and she locked him out of the house. The criminal complaint shows he broke his way in using the propane tank from the grill, and once inside he choked and assaulted the victim. She was eventually able to get away after spraying Chandler with mace. He was taken to the South Central Regional Jail on burglary charges.
Since the West Virginia 511 system was introduced early December, thousand have used it to get tips about traveling. The new 511 system was launched by the WV Department of Transportation to make traveling a little easier, offering road advisories, including conditions and closures. You can dial 511 from any phone, check the website at www.WV511.org. You can also download the WV Drive Safe app.
The weather so far this ski season hasn't been very cooperative, but on Sunday Winterplace resort near Beckley was able to have its opening day. Winterplace had hoped to open in early December, but the lack of snow kept that at bay until yesterday. The ski industry is a multi-million dollar industry in West Virginia boosts tourism each year.
An anonymous man from West Virginia has made the holidays brighter for many Wood County families by paying off 41 layaway contracts that included toys and gifts for children. The anonymous customer paid about $8600 to cover all the gifts at the Kmart in Vienna on Wednesday.
Good news came this week for Putnam County. BusinessWeek and Bloomberg Rankings released the news this week that Putnam County is one of America's best towns to raise kids, and is the #1 place in West Virginia to raise a family. Criteria included information about public schools, safety, income and a county's unemployment rate from towns with populations between 5,000 and 50,000. Putnam County stood out for its water park and for the quality of its drinking water, among other things.
Firefighters went to an area near Sissonville Middle School this week because people in the area smelled of a strong odor of natural gas. Firefighters found what's been described as a faint odor of natural gas near a small pipeline, and the company that owns the pipeline was called to investigate it. Last week a gas line explosion destroyed four homes and damaged several others in the Sissonville.