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There's a renewed focus this week on highway safety, especially when it comes to commercial vehicles. The Public Service Commission's Transportation Enforcement Division is taking part in Operation Safe Driver this week, meaning officers are verifying driver credentials and vehicle paperwork, plus enforcing seat belt requirements for commercial drivers. The campaign got underway Sunday and runs through this coming Saturday.
A new bill has gone into effect this week that limits certain types of businesses on Charleston's East End. Im particular, the bill bans strip clubs, adult book and video stores, pawn shops, gun shops, check cashing establishments other than banks, gambling parlors, and pay as you go phone stores from opening along Washington Street East from Sidney to Morris streets. The Charleston City Council passed the bill, and it took effect Monday.
Kanawha Players Theater is looking for performers for “A Christmas Story.” Auditions are scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m this Saturday at the theater at 309 Beauregard St. in Charleston, according to a news release from the theater group. Performance dates are 8 p.m. Nov. 29, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. Dec. 2. They need two men, two women, five boys between the ages 9 and 14 and two girls between the ages of 9-14.
Officials with FEMA say they have a total of 2,653 claims for damages from the June 29th storms, and most of those have come from Fayette County with 610. Kanawha County has filed 567 damage claims, Nicholas 518, and Raleigh 489. Those four counties were officially declared disaster areas, and just this week Governor Tomblin asked FEMA to expand the disaster declaration to an area including twenty other surrounding counties. The highest possible damage award is $31,000 and to qualify an individual’s entire home would have to be destroyed.
Anyone who suffered storm damage June 29th may be eligible for free legal assistance. The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and Legal Aid of West Virginia has announced it's partnered to offer the Disaster Legal Services program. When you call, you'll be matched with an attorney that has volunteered to participate. FEMA is providing the funding for the program. Storm victims can call the program at (877) 331-4259.
Pet owners in Nitro have new limits. City leaders there are trying to cut down on large litters of cats, since complaints have come in recent months about feral cats stirring up trouble on city streets and killing birds. An ordinance has been approved in Nitro that limits the number of pets a household can have to three dogs and three cats. The includes strays that someone might just be setting out food for. The ordinance takes effect November 1, and anyone in Nitro with more pets than allowed at that point will be grandfathered in and exempt from fines. Those pet owners will have to be able to prove they owned the animals before November 1 with a veteranarian bill, or something similar. Violaters will face $50 fines for a first offense.
WorkForce West Virginia has a new initiative to help laid-of coal miners. Any coal miners laid off after March 1 who received a federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, might be able to receive as much as $5000 for education. Under the program, miners and their familes can train for in-demand jobs outside the coal mining industry, and get help with the training costs. There are several sessions set up this week where laid-off mine workers can learn more. Informational sessions are set for 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in Logan, and 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bridgemont Community and Technical College in Montgomery.
Today is the last day for new voters to register to vote ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Overall, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office, has said more than 47,000 new voters registered across the state between January and September of this year, which is down more than 25 percent from the last presidential election year in 2008. Voter turnout is expected to be largely the same as 2008. If you're not already registered, today is the day to do it at the County Clerk's office. The state's early voting period will run from Wednesday, Oct. 24 through Saturday, Nov. 3, with voting available each day except Sunday, Oct. 28. In Kanawha County, early voting will be held at the Voter's Registration office in the Judicial Annex along Quarrier Street. Putnam County will have early voting on the second floor of the county courthouse in Winfield.
Boy Scouts and other service groups will come together next year to perform more than 350 community service projects in Southern West Virginia as part of a community service initiative. The Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative will cover nine counties during the Boy Scouts of America's National Jamboree in July 2013 to be held in Fayette County. The Beckley Register-Herald says the volunteers will include up to 40,000 Scouts and more than 250 young adults from the Americorps/National Civilian Community Corps.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's spent much of Monday investigating after a woman's body was discovered in a wooded area in South Charleston early Monday. Detectives say the woman had been living in a tent near Myrtle Tree Lane, and was in her fifties, and apparently died of natural causes. She may have been living in the woods for a month or more.