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West Virginia lawmakers will study 76 wide-ranging topics in committee meetings that lead up to their annual legislative session in January. This year's interim committee topics include a study on the craft beer business, possible commuter rail service and a possible tax break for coal producers selling to in-state buyers who increase their purchases. They will also delve into contamination issues with water supplies and feasibility of toughening campaign finance disclosure requirements. The Legislature's committees meet next Monday through Wednesday.
A caller near Saint Albans on Monday told 911 dispatchers that he'd been stabbed in the chest. The Kanawha County Sheriff's office identifies the victim as Edward McDuffie, and said he was hurt by his 22-year old son, Matthew McDuffie. According to the criminal complaint on file at Kanawha County Magistrate Court, Edward McDuffie, his wife Priscilla, and their son Matthew were consuming alcoholic beverages and an argument began between Matthew and Priscilla, and things escalated to the physical confrontation.
American Electric Power crews worked through the night to restore power to thousands of customers who lost it with last night's storms. High winds up to 60 mph knocked down power lines and trees, and some roads were blocked. There were no confirmed reports of tornadoes. At one point last night, American Electric Power reported more than 3600 in Kanawha County without power.
A federal program that provides free meals to lower-income children during the summer will kick off in West Virginia tomorrow. The Summer Food Service Program provides funds to county school boards and other nonprofit organizations to provide meals to children 18 years and under. Feeding sites include schools, churches, pools, parks, housing complexes and summer camps. The West Virginia Department of Education's Office of Child Nutrition sponsors the program. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other officials will launch this summer's feeding program on Wednesday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Charleston.
Wayne County is auctioning off a handful of its county vehicles and a dozen buses as it gets some brand new buses from the state. The three Ford Taurus and 12 buses are being auctioned off online here. The auction is happening online at www.publicsurplus.com, and it's live for three weeks. Money raised goes to the Wayne County Board of Education for other school projects like equipment upgrades. The state has allocated some money for school bus replacement, and Wayne County is looking into buying 8 buses, with each carrying between 77 and 90 students.
West Virginia's Broadband Deployment Council plans to disband at the end of year. The council is charged with expanding high-speed Internet in the state. The Legislature denied the council's request this year for another $5 million to provide grants for broadband projects. Without more funding, the council's chairman, Dan O'Hanlon, tells the Charleston Gazette that there's nothing left to do except report on past grants. O'Hanlon says the council has about $800,000 in leftover funds. The money will be spent on project audits and reports.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning about another phone scam. This time the phone number that shows up on the Caller ID is your own. It's called "spoofing" and scammers sometimes use that tactic to make you think the call is legitimate. Morrisey says in a news release that technology has made it harder to be certain that the person on the other end of the line is who he says he is. Don't give out personal information to a company you don't know, and if you think you've been scammed, report it to police and call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808.
Fayette County authorities are investigating another fire in the Minden area. A house was burned around 11 p.m. Friday, and becomes the most recent in a string of about a dozen fires in the area in recent weeks. Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler says the fires are being investigated as arsons. Rewards are being offered by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office and Crime Stoppers of Raleigh and Fayette counties for information leading to arrests and convictions.
A group of cyclists are going coast to coast this summer, with more to their mission than just good health and fitness. The non-profit group is stopping along the way in different cities to build houses, working with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. There is a house under construction with the Kanawha-Putnam chapter of Habitat for Humanity in north Charleston, and they bicyclists pitched in to help build that home Saturday, while raising awareness about the need for high quality, affordable housing.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says federal regulators don't have authority to implement a wide-reaching scale-back on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. He says since coal plants are covered elsewhere in the Clean Air Act, the EPA can't further regulate them. The assertions were made Friday in a letter to the EPA Administrator. Morrisey says EPA relies on a technical error made when Congress amended the act in 1990. The rule aims to curb global warming by cutting emissions by 30 percent nationally by 2030, compared to 2005. West Virginia would have to drop emissions by 19.8 percent by 2030, compared to 2012. Morrisey says he will take any legal actions necessary against the rule.