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FestivAll talent needed

Have an idea for a trash can? Put your artistic talents to work and submit it to the FestivALL office by 11:59pm August 31st. The selected designs will be used on 12 to 15 trash cans to be placed on Kanawha Boulevard. An open house to discuss the project will be held 6 to 7 p.m. Aug. 2 at West Virginia State University's Economic Development Center at 1506 Kanawha Blvd. West. Besides watching your design be put to good use. the winning artist will also receive a thousand dollars. A selection committee made up of art administrators, representatives of the city of Charleston and its refuse department and local artists will select the design. New this year...the five finalists will be interviewed by the panel. The FestivALL website has details.

Gag Order

Citing an interview that aired Wednesday night with Shawn Lester on WSAZ-TV Kanawha County Circuit court Judge Duke Bloom has issued a gag order in the case yesterday. Lester who's trial is to start Monday, said in the interview he is innocent and it would make him feel better as a person to have fewer people think he is "this monster." He is facing a first degree murder charge in the fatal shootings of three people outside a convenience store in 2003. Bloom's order bars anyone associated with the case from discussing it.

Drug prices

Some drug benefit changes went into effect July first and now one legislator wants to know more about those changes. House Speaker Rick Thompson is concerned because he is hearing from staff members and consitiuents costs have dramatically increased. He's asking the head of the state Public Employees Insurance Agency for answers. Under the former plan, participants were charged $50 co-pays for certain brand-name prescriptions; the new plan requires them to pay 75 percent of the cost for those drugs. He's especially concerned about those with chronic conditions who may cut or stop treatment because of the costs.

Neighbors helping Neighbors

After thousands were left without electricity from recent storms, the state's food pantries took a major hit. Yesterday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin thanked all those who helped to replenish them including, the Mountaineer Food Bank and teh Huntington Area Food Bank. During food drives this month close to 150thousand dollars and five truckloads of food has been received that has been collected during state wide food drives. Distribution will now go to other pantries across the state. .

Hot Dog for a Good Cause

So you love hot dogs? No not the kind on a bun with mustard, but with four legs and fur? Owners of the weiner dogs can watch their canines strut their stuff tomorrow for a good cause. The 8th annual West Virginia Hot Dog Festival in downtown Huntington will benefit Cabell Huntington Children's Hospital. Besides dachsunds from across the Tri state there will be plenty of entertainment, costume parade, weiner dog races and dogs..the kind on the bun with mustard.

Lincoln county elections

Time is running out for Independent and small party candidates to decide whether they want to be a part of the November ballot in Lincoln County. August 1, is when candidates must not only file the paperwork, also have enough signatures to get a place on the ballot. Those signatures must also be verified by the Lincoln County Clerks office. Speaking of the Lincoln County Clerk, Myrl Gue's term ends December 31st. He was appointed by the Lincoln County Commission when Donald Whitten resigned for his role in the 2010 absentee ballot scheme. He will be sentenced next month. Democrats still must decide who their candidate will be, Republicans have nominated Howard Isaccs and Gue will be on the November 6th ballot as an independent.

voting begins

union workers at the Constellium aluminum rolling facility in Ravenswood begin voting on a new contract today. It would mean they would begin paying 15 percent of their health-care costs. company CEO Kyle Lorentzen says each employee should see a net gain of about $15,000, including increases in wages and pension benefits, over the five years of the contract. Today, Constellium's rolling mill is the largest private employer in Jackson County. The plant has nearly 1,000 employees, 700 of whom are production and maintenance workers and members of the United Steelworkers of America. Results may be announced on Saturday. Company and union representatives have been negotiating the contract since May.

fighting obesity

the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyles Coalition is ready to get to work on fighting obesity in West virginia. Helen Matheny, chairwoman of , spoke to the Legislature's Joint Committee on Health Wednesday they want to suggest specific policy changes legislators can put in place to fight the state's obesity crisis. Established in 2005 by a legislative mandate, the coalition has thus far been a forum for individuals and organizations to share information,

.A screening of more than 135,000 state fifth-graders last year showed that one in four has high blood pressure, 26 percent have high cholesterol and 29 percent are obese, according to West Virginia University's CARDIAC screening data. West Virginia is number one in the country for diabetes, heart attacks and obesity, according to the 2011 Gallup-Healthways rankings.

She's also been asked to speak to the committee again in December after the lifestyles coalition has researched possible policy changes

A commmunity Effort

YUM! Fresh produce from a total community effort... the Wild Ramp...Huntington's nontraditional farmers market, is up and running thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers who rebuilt everything in the 600 foot space needed for the town's newest local food source. reusable shopping bags and worker aprons are repurposed from old feed sacks. More than 30thousand dollars and 2thousand volunteer hours went into making it a reality.

West Virginia Education Taken To Task

Ouch! West Virginia ranks 47th in the nation in education, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count Data Book. With nearly four out of five eighth-grade students who are not proficient in math, West Virginia received one of the worst education rankings in the country. Nationwide, the percentage of eighth-graders who are not proficient in math decreased from 72 percent in 2005 to 66 percent in 2011, according to the report. Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada join West Virginia as the five states ranked weakest for education.

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