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WV Lawmakers Ready to Learn from North Dakota on Gas Revenue

State lawmakers from West Virginia are coming to North Dakota to learn more about the state's savings account for oil and gas taxes. North Dakota's Legacy Fund gets 30 percent of the state's oil and gas tax collections. It topped $1.3 billion in assets last month. None of the money can be spent until 2017, and only then if the Legislature decides by a two-thirds vote to dip into the fund. West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler is leading the 17-member delegation as natural gas production increases here. Kessler wants lawmakers to set aside tax revenue similar to what is being done in North Dakota. About a dozen North Dakota lawmakers are slated to host the West Virginia delegation on Thursday in Bismarck.

South Hills Addresses Recent Crime

After at least five home burglaries in Charleston's South Hills area in recent months, and car vandalism too, neighbors want to know how to protect themselves. At a meeting last night, police offered tips like putting newspaper subscriptions on hold when out of town so they don't pile up outside. And perhaps don't mention your vacation on Facebook. One teen has been arrested in a car vandalism case.

Students Back After Water Main Break Near School

School is on as scheduled today at Pratt Elementary in eastern Kanawha County. The school was closed mid-morning Monday because of a water main break near the school, but that won't keep students away today. You may remember earlier this summer, Pratt residents voted to sell their town's water system to West Virginia American Water.

Hurricane Man Accused of Stealing Fuel

A Hurricane man entered a guilty plea Monday for stealing diesel fuel. 42-year old Matthew Todd Brock pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for his role in taking thousands of dollars worth of diesel fuel from a military facility in Putnam County, or theft of government property as U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin put it in a news release. Brock was hired three years ago as the program manager for the Naval Special Warfare Command program in Red House, and used the card to put fuel in his personal vehicle and family members' vehicles, according to the release. He's also accused of stealing diesel fuel and selling it for $1 per gallon. Brock faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced on Nov. 18.

Mental Health Conference Planned for Charleston

Behavioral health professionals across West Virginia will gather in Charleston next month to share their best practices and form partnerships. The Integrated Behavioral Health Conference is scheduled for Sept. 17-19 at the Charleston Civic Center. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says it will be the state's first such conference. The conference will offer nearly 100 sessions on topics including drug diversion, integration and collaborative care, inclusion, evidence-based programs and practices, stigma reduction and behavioral health awareness.

911 Center Plans Upgrade Wednesday

Metro 911 plans to upgrade its phone system tomorrow between 5 and 6am. The Kanawha County 911 center is replacing a system that's 8 years old, with a new system that is expected to reduce emergency response times, and help dispatchers record calls more efficiently. No service interruption is expected during the upgade tomorrow.

Water Quality Data Compiled for New Report

State regulators are compiling lake and stream water quality data for a report required by the Clean Water Act. The Department of Environmental Protection submits the report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every two years. It includes a list of impaired waters that don't meet water quality standards. Anyone who has collected water quality data in West Virginia from July 1, 2008, through June 30 can submit it to the DEP for the new report. Oct. 18 is the deadline to submit data.

St. Albans Man Arrested for Robbery

A St. Albans man has been arrested after a Family Dollar store was robbed on Friday. Kerry Smith is accused of trying to rob two businesses actually, on Charleston's East End. Court documents say Smith shoved a Family Dollar cashier and tried to grab money from an open cash register. Smith is also accused of walking into the Sweet Spoon on Washington Street East Friday and demanding money. Smith is charged with second degree robbery and was taken to the South Central Regional Jail on a $1,000 bond.

Nicholas County Could Create Manager Position for Second Time

The Nicholas County Commission created a $60,000-per-year county manager position at its meeting on Aug. 6th, and the Charleston Gazette reports that was without mentioning the position on its posted agenda or conducting a search. The county insists it was on the agenda, just not "explicit," according to the paper. The backlash caused the commission to rescind the position six days later and take the job from Roger Beverage, who had already been hired. At a meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Aug. 20, creating a county manager position will be on the agenda, and the position could be created once again.

New Campground Coming; Input Wanted on Fees

The National Park Service is seeking public comment on proposed fees for a new campground in West Virginia. The Meadow Creek Campground is expected to open along the banks of the New River Gorge National River early next summer. The campground will offer electric hookups at all campsites and water hookups at some. It also will feature a public boat launch and an amphitheater. Proposed campsite fees are $18 per night for walk-in tent-only sites with electricity, $24 for drive-in car sites with electricity, and $28 for drive-in RV sites with electricity and water. Comments can be submitted online at www.nps.gov/neri through Sept. 15.

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