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Thursday event in Beckley spotlights the mining industry

The mining industry will be highlighted tomorrow in Beckley with the 2012 Miners' Celebration. Speakers at the conference will celebrate the past and look forward to the future,and several awards will be handed out, including a special "Spirit of the Coalfields'' award to McDowell County native and author Homer Hickam, who wrote "Rocket Boys'' and other memoirs about growing up in the mining community of Coalwood. It's a free event and anyone can attend. All you have to do is register in advance at .

Mall renovations make progress

The extensive renovations continue at Charleston Town Center Mall, but shoppers should notice the dust and drills gone by the holiday shopping season. The news came this week too that the Starbucks kiosk, closed by the dust, could reopen by the end of the week. The kiosk at center court closed September 20th because of the dust, and they're waiting until all the tiles nearby have been replaced. Floors on all three levels of the mall are being resurfaced.

Dunbar looks at new ordinances

It's not final yet, but Dunbar City Council members have taken a necessary step toward limiting motorized scooters on city streets and crosswalks. They'd have to have better reflective gear to make them easier to see. Another ordinance targets texting and driving, which uses language from the state code which will make texting while driving a primary offense and talking on the phone while driving without a hands-free device a primary offense starting next July. This would make it happen faster in Dunbar. Council members will take up the ordinances again and consider passage at a future meeting.

City workers welcome the raise

What's better than a raise? Perhaps a raise when you don't expect it. The raise for City of Charleston workers goes into effect next week after city council members approved it earlier this week. It's the first pay raise for city employees since the middle of 2009. That means all full-time staff, including police and fire fighters, will get a boose. Elected officials are excluded. The pay raises are possible because of leftover funds from the last fiscal year.

Kanawha County woman sues convenience store

A Kanawha County woman is suing Go-Mart after she slipped on oil and hurt her knee on their property. It happened January 28 at a Go-Mart in Dunbar, and Cindy Sheppard claims in the suit that the defendant was responsible for properly maintaining the premises of the store, and it was negligence that presented the dangerous situation. Sheppard is seeking compensatory damages.

Bond denied in child porn case

A man accused of having child pornography will stay in jail. 50-year old Clay Counts was denied a bond reduction this week in Kanawha Magistrate Court. Counts was arrested in September after a child pornograpy investigation, and charged with sexual abuse and possession of child pornography. A grand jury now has the case.

Police look for gun thieves

The search has widened for the two men responsible for robbing a gun store. The two men were caught on camera stealing an assault rifle now, and detectives ask that anyone with information on the two call either Hurricane or Charleston police. Officers are looking for Jesse and David Burgess. They are persons of interest in the theft of an assault rifle from Dunlap's Gun & Pawn in Hurricane on Sept. 21. Police say they are both from Charleston.

School district looks for ways to keep students in class

The West Virginia Dept. of Education says across Kanawha County, more than 25 percent of students missed five or more days of school without an excuse last year. Eight in ten missed 10 or more days. There are catch up classes known as intercessions available, and the Gazette reports the principals of Kanawha County's two year-round schools want local judges to force students who serially skip class to take the catch-up classes. The district continues to look for ways to fight the truancy issue.

Program hopes to attract more practicing dentists

West Virgina hopes more denists will decide to stay here and practice dentistry here upon graduation. Analysis by the state says of the 189 graduates between 2007 and 2010, 75 chose to stay in state and practice dentistry. Others who got degrees from West Virginia University's School of Dentistry moved on. In 2011, only six graduates stayed in West Virginia, according to school records. A new program has been announced by WVU officials that offers loan reimbursement to five students who commit to practicing in West Virginia. The Dental Workforce Loan Reimbursement program is federally funded and provides up to $50,000 over the course of two years to students who practice in one of the state's shortage areas.

Coalition wants more study on water releases

The Wet The Dries Coalition wants a study to be done on the economic impact of increased water releases from Hawks Nest Dam. The alliance is made up of West Virginia Professional River Outfitters, the New River Clean Water Alliance, Plateau Action Network and the Hydropower Reform Coalition, and says increasing dam releases would create more than 5 miles of new whitewater in Fayette County. The dam's license is coming up for review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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