Breaking Local News
State officials say West Virginia closed a gap in the budget and ended the fiscal year in the black. The state started June with a $57 million gap in revenue collections. Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's spokesman, Chris Stadelman, told the Charleston Daily Mail that the state ended the fiscal year on Monday with a balanced budget and additional steps weren't necessary to close the gap. Muchow also says it's the first time in recent years that no new tax laws take effect on July 1.
Beckley officials are looking to boost the city's population by annexing several residential areas. Beckley director of information technology Bill Kelly is chairman of the city's annexation committee. He tells The Register-Herald that annexing these areas bordering the city could increase Beckley's population from about 17,000 to nearly 35,000. Kelly says this would more accurately reflect the number of people who come to Beckley for services such as shopping and health care. He says an increase in population also could make the city more appealing to new businesses. The city is sending letters to a large group of property owners to educate them about annexation, including the benefits and cost.
The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy held an open house last night to highlight a new project that will offer more health services. Highland Behavior Services and UC are teaming up to offer primary care, behavioral health treatment and pharmacy services on UC’s campus.
The West Virginia Division of Public Transit is preparing to launch a new bus service between Charleston and Morgantown. The daily I-RIDE 79 service begins today and includes stops in Clendenin, Flatwoods, Weston, Clarksburg and Fairmont. One-way fares range from $3 to $15, depending upon where the passenger boards. The service also provides links to Greyhound in Charleston and Morgantown. To celebrate the new service, the Division of Public Transit is offering free rides through July 7.
The Division of Corrections has told the McDowell County Commission to address deficiencies at the Stevens Correctional Center or risk losing its contract to house state inmates at the facility. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein sent a letter to the commission regarding the deficiencies earlier this month. The issues include staff members not following Division of Corrections directives and the letter says the county owes the division liquidated damages under the contract. The letter also says the division would cancel the contract if the problems aren't resolved. But the agency is willing to waive damages and assist in transferring the facility's ownership and operations to the state.
Electricity customers may see higher bills in the coming months. American Electric Power wants the state Public Service Commission to approve a 17 percent rate increase to recover costs related to the 2012 Derecho and then Superstorm Sandy. Under the rate hike, the average customer that uses 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month would see their monthly bill go from $94 to $116. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper issued a statement saying nobody likes a rate increase, but Appalachian Power has brought in extra resources to restore power quickly after storms. The company's tree trimming program cost millions of dollars to ensure that trees are away from the lines to reduce power outages in future storms. And the power company says it will work with customers on payment arrangements for those who need it.
Sunday morning just before 2am there was a shooting on Fawn Lane in Tornado. The Kanawha County Sheriff's office says a 16 year old male from Charleston was shot in the lower back. He was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center’s General Division for treatment. His injury was described as non-life-threatening. The shooting happened at a large party and bon fire on property on Fawn Lane with about 60-70 vehicles there at one point, according to witnesses. A fight led up to the shooting, and detectives have been interviewing witnesses. Anyone with information about the party or the shooting is asked to call 304-357-0169 or submit information through: www.kanawhasheriff.us.
Miners who died 99 years ago are being remembered with a new memorial, and that was dedicated on Saturday. The community Layland Miners Memorial remembers the 115 miners who died in one of West Virginia's worst mining disasters on March 2 1915. You can still see pieces of the mine in the place where Layland Baptist Church now stands. Investigators never could pinpoint an exact cause for the explosion.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office conducted a DUI checkpoint along Highway 25 near Institute Saturday night, and said the checkpoints are designed to crack down on driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. The sheriff's office made a record number of DUI arrests in May, and will continue the stepped up enforcements this summer.
Frontier Communications and the Communications Workers of America have extended their contract again while negotiations continue on a new labor agreement. Frontier says the existing contract will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 2. The contract was set to expire Saturday night. The company and the union have extended the contract several times since negotiations began in mid-June 2013. Frontier East Region vice president Ken Arndt says in a news release that the two sides have made substantial progress. The contract covers more than 1,500 workers in West Virginia.