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Civic Center renovations were a big topic of discussion at Monday night's city council meeting in Charleston. The firm O'Dell Associates was hired for design consulting services, which means they'll help the city council find the construction company that will perform the renovation work. $50 million has been budgeted for the project.
Representatives from the West Virginia State Police, the American Red Cross, the National Guard, and other agencies have set up a space beneath the Capitol to stay updated on the weatehr. The Emergency Operations Center opened Sunday, and they'll decide about road closures and possible shelters with the snow this morning.
The pharmaceutical industry is mounting a media blitz against a West Virginia bill requiring prescriptions for cold medicines. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association argues customers would face higher costs and have less purchasing freedom. The group paid for Internet and radio ads and a study. The pseudoephedrine bill passed the Senate, but has a tough road in the House of Delegates. It has until March 8 to pass the Judiciary Committee and the House. Judiciary Chairman Tim Manchin said there is opposition to the bill on his panel.
With the storm that continues this morning, the National Weather Service says ice accumulations of 0.25 to 0.5 inches and 4 to 8 inches of snow are expected. A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the entire state. Snow accumulations are a concern today, mainly because the ice came first and that's coating the roads underneath the snow. The National Weather Service says parts of the Eastern Panhandle could see up to a foot of snow. Up to six to eight inches of snow is expected in other parts of the state. Appalachian Power says it's moving crews into areas of the state that are expected to be hit the hardest.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller is still skeptical about safety of drinking water for 300,000 Charleston-area residents. At an appearance Friday in Charleston, Rockefeller said he would not drink tap water when he is visiting the capital city, according to the Charleston Daily Mail. Health officials said the water was safe to use more than a month ago, but Governor Tomblin kept the emergency declaration in force partially because of lingering odor from some taps and showers. The emergency declaration has since been lifted.
A West Virginia legislative chairman says many of his committee members are leaning against making a cold medicine used to cook meth available by prescription only. House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Manchin says a bill to make pseudoephedrine prescription only will come up Monday or Tuesday. Manchin said there's a fair amount of opposition in his committee. The proposal excludes certain drugs deemed tamper-resistant. Manchin said other options exist if the committee won't pass that version. One would further limit how much pseudoephedrine someone can buy annually. The Senate approved the proposal Feb. 18, and there's one week left in the legislative session.
West Virginia's May 13 primary slate is official and will have several contested races on the federal level. Thirteen of the 17 state Senate races are uncontested in both parties. Contested primary races include Kanawha County Republicans Lance Wheeler and Tom Takubo. Nine delegates, including six Democrats, aren't seeking another House term, and three of those are running for other offices. Kanawha County Democrat Doug Skaff is going for a state Senate seat and Kanawha County Democrat Meshea Poore is seeking Capito's congressional seat.
Growers are being sought to participate in a three-year research project to determine the viability of hop production in West Virginia. The project will be conducted by the West Virginia State University Extension Service. Extension agent Brad Cochran says in a news release that researchers want to determine the best varieties of hops to grow in West Virginia. The goal is to foster commercial production of hops and to support the state's brewing industry. Up to six growers will be selected to participate in the project. Applications must be submitted by March 20 and you can see them online at www.wvstateu.edu/extension.
West Virginia's May 13 primary slate is official and will have several contested races on the federal level. Seven-term 2nd District Rep. Shelley Moore Capito will face two other candidates in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller, while Tennant is running on the Democratic side and will have two opponents. Challenging Capito in the Republican primary are Larry Butcher, of Washington, in Wood County, and Matthew Dodrill, of Parkersburg. Tennant will be opposed by Williamstown Democrat David Wamsley and Buckhannon's Dennis Melton. Seven Republicans and two Democrats are seeking Capito's congressional seat.
Federal prosecutors are investigating the handling of evidence in a Mingo County drug case linked to a corruption probe. Mingo County Sheriff James Smith told the Charleston Daily Mail that a former deputy delivered a box of evidence to the sheriff's department this week, several hours after a circuit court judge dismissed the drug charges against George White of Delbarton. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby told the newspaper that federal prosecutors are investigating. One of White's attorneys, David Barney, and Boone County prosecutor Keith Randolph say they don't think the evidence would have had an impact on White's case. Randolph served as special prosecutor for the case.