Breaking Local News
The Putnam County Commission says a public-private partnership will provide funding to complete an upgrade of U.S. 35. The commission said work will begin in April 2014 to expand a 14.6-mile section of U.S. 35 in Putnam and Mason counties to four lanes. The project is estimated to cost $214 million and could be completed by April 2016. The Charleston Gazette reported that commissioners announced the project Tuesday during their meeting. A bill approved by the Legislature during this year's regular session allows private entities or contractors to front all of the money necessary to finish a project. The West Virginia Division of Highways would pay them over a given period of time.
A robbery at the 7-Eleven store on Big Tyler Road in Cross Lanes Monday is under investigation. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office asks for anyone with information to come forward with tips. The clerk said a black male wearing a black, long-sleeve shirt, blue jeans, black shoes, and a ski mask entered the store and demanded money, brandished a handgun and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information about the crime or the suspect is asked to call the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office at 304-357-0169 or submit a tip on our website at www.kanawhasheriff.us. You'll remain anonymous.
A Sissonville man says he was surprised when he ordered a pizza from a local restaurant and was charged a Charleston sales tax. Charleston officials say there've been problems with other businesses outside the city limits incorrectly assessing the tax, and this man is not alone. City Council voted in March to impose a tax of a half-cent on the dollar to raise money for upgrades to the Charleston Civic Center. City Finance Director Joe Estep tells The Charleston Gazette he's gotten about a half-dozen calls about businesses incorrectly charging the tax. He thinks the problem could be with businesses that have Charleston mailing addresses but are not actually within city limits.
The city of Charleston is split on an ordinance that would eliminate the possibility of jail time for first-time prostitution offenders. Earlier this week members of the Ordinance and Rules Committee voted 6 to 2 in favor of the ordinance, which will be retroactive, meaning that anyone with pending prostitution charges that have not been finalized will also be able to avoid jail time. Lobbyist Phil Reale was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in July, and would not face jail time under the ordinance. The ordinance now goes to the city council for full voting.
If you have business to do with the Division of Motor Vehicles, you'll have to get it done today or Saturday. The state DMV will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, Nov. 28, and Friday, Nov. 29, and offices with normal Saturday hours in Martinsburg and Kanawha City, will be open for regular business hours on Saturday, Nov. 30. All DMV offices will resume normal business hours on Monday, Dec. 2
A Neighborhool Watch meeting a week from tonight will feature two prominent guest speakers. Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants and House of Delegates member J.B. McCuskey are scheduled to speak at the St. Albans Ward 4 Neighborhood Watch meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Crossing Church at 2031 Harrison Ave., across the street from Alban Elementary School.
Yuletide in the Park is coming up in Putnam County, and there are special events planned throughout the month of December. Sundaes with Santa will happen this Sunday, December 1st from 1 to 3pm at the old school house at County Park in Eleanor. There's a model train and tree display at The Commons at Valley Park from December 2 through 8 each evening from 6 to 9pm. The entire Yuletide in the Park event is scheduled from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31 at Valley Park in Hurricane, with animated light displays throughout the park, according to the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Putnam County Visitors Bureau.
Crews are working on demolishing a house in Logan where a fire killed two children. The city and its fire department arranged for the demolition and removal of rubble after receiving requests from neighbors. WSAZ-TV reports that the house is a constant reminder of the fire, and tearing it down might bring some healing. The fire October 21st killed 3-year-old Dontarius Gardner and 4-year-old Shania Sidney. The State Fire Marshal's Office determined that the cause was electrical.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin are moving the governor's Christmas parties to a new venue. This year's parties will be held at the Culture Center instead of the Governor's Mansion. Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler-Goodwin told the Charleston Daily Mail that the Culture Center is a larger venue and the move will eliminate the need for an expensive party tent at the Governor's Mansion. One party is set for Dec. 6 for guests from southern West Virginia. Another party is set for Dec. 7 for guests from northern West Virginia. Both parties are invitation-only.
Deer hunters in the state got started Monday on the two-week gun season. The Division of Natural Resources estimates 330,000 hunters will participate over the next two weeks. The gun season runs through Dec. 7 and is open in all counties except Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming. Hunters are limited to two bucks during gun season and three does per year, whether during archery or firearms season. Last year, hunters killed more than 56,000 bucks during the two-week gun season, down 6 percent from 2011. The DNR estimates this year's buck kill should be similar to 2012, while the overall number of deer killed in 2013 should be higher than a year ago.