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Farmers in the area who want to help the state Department of Agriculture fight gypsy months can sign up now for the annual suppression program. Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick says applications are available now and the deadline to return them is Aug. 31. To be part of it you've got to have at least 50 contiguous acres. Agriculture officials say the gypsy moth is one of the most serious pests in the state's forest. It's a non-native, invasive insect that feeds on 500 species of trees and shrubs, including West Virginia hardwoods. Defoliation can kill trees and make them more vulnerable to other pests and diseases.
There will be many opportunities to view fireworks this week, even before the 4th. The city of Charleston is having its fireworks display on Wednesday night at Haddad Riverfront Park after a performance by the West Virginia Symphony which starts at 8pm. The fireworks will likey go off around 9:45pm. On Thursday, fireworks will be on display over Appalachian Power Park. The West Virginia Power takes on the Hagerstown Suns at 7:05 p.m, and the fireworks are expected about 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. that night. You can also see fireworks in Spencer Thursday night at 10pm.
A former Congressional aide has gone from serious politics, to posting parodies on youtube. Rob Raffety is a former aide to Rep. Shelley Moore Capito and the Charleston Gazette reports has produced and directed several short films about life on Capitol Hill. His comedy series is named Cap South, named after the Metro stop Capitol South, where many congressional staffers get off the subway to go to work every day. The series will air on YouTube starting this month and each episode is 3 to 5 mintues long. Raffety says his show is different than others because it focuses on the staffers, rather than the political figures.
Early Friday morning there was an attempted robbery at the 7-Eleven store at 5425 Midland Drive in Rand, and the investigation continues. Cpl. Brian Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriff's department explains what happened:
Nothing was stolen. Anyone with information should contact the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, or submit an anonymous tip on the website.
The Fayette County commission is doing what it can to help retired mine workers keep their benefits. Commissioners approved a petition Saturday morning supporting the United Mine Workers of America, and the petition has been sent to UMWA headquarters. Without action from bankrupt Patriot Coal, some retired workers could lose their benefits starting today, July 1.
Charleston attorney Dana Eddy has been appointed executive director of the West Virginia Public Defender Services. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says Eddy's appointment is effective today and he's replacing Jack Rogers, who retired. Eddy has run his own law firm since 2007 and has served as general counsel for former Gov. Gaston Caperton.
Students who have been taking the government subsidized Stafford loans are seeing their interest rates double today. Without a deal from lawmakers, about 7 million students would see their rates go from current levels of 3.4 percent up to 6.8 percent. Lawmakers worked behind the scenes all weekend to try to reach a deal that would keep steady. No deal was reached, but it's possible that lawmakers could reverse the rate with a deal in the coming days.
We brought you the story this week of a Sissonville fire fighter who died of a medical condition while responding to a blaze, and now services have been set. And also, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered all flags at state-owned facilities in Kanawha County lowered to half-staff today to honor John Appleton. He was a Malden Volunteer Fire Department member and chaplain who died Monday after collapsing on the scene of a fire. A semi-private service for the family, church members and Malden VFD is set for this morning. A donation fund has been set up too, at any Poca Valley Bank in the name of the Happy Hollow Road Fire Fund.
Changes are coming to the way student loans are paid back. In 2012 about 60,000 higher education students used federal subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for their education, according to the state Higher Education Policy Commission. Beginning Monday, any student who signs up for the loans will face interest rates of 6.8 percent, which is double the current rate. The Charleston Gazette reports Senator Joe Manchin and five other senators are fighting the hike, and introduced a plan Thursday in Washington that would prevent the rates from doubling. The plan would impose a fixed-rate over the life of loans while keeping the cap on consolidated loans at 8.25 percent.
A Clay County jury has found Hiram Lewis not guilty. Lewis is a former U.S. Senate candidate charged with malicious wounding in a shooting incident a year ago at his home. He testified during the trial that he shot Stephen Bogart in the leg after Bogart broke into his home, but it was in self-defense. The jury found Lewis not guilty on Wednesday night. Lewis, a Republican, made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2006. He also made unsuccessful runs for state attorney general in 2004 and 2008.