Across the State – WV News

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NORTH

GLEN DALE

A new mobile magnetic resonance imaging unit, utilizing the latest technology and offering expanded availability, is now serving patients at WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale and Wetzel County Hospital in New Martinsville.

A large trailer housing the equipment arrived Monday at WVU Medicine Reynolds. Hours of operation for the diagnostic tool are increasing to five days a week at the Glen Dale site. The unit is available two days a week in New Martinsville.

“We’re excited to have this technology available and to bring it to the community,” said Mike Ortiz, vice president of clinical operations at WVU Medicine Reynolds.

By having another day of service at Reynolds, more patients can undergo MRI scans and receive their readings faster, he said.

This state-of-the-art unit offers the next generation of MRI technology, said Erica Stauver, MRI technologist at WVU Medicine Reynolds.

The new MAGNETOM Aera system is more technologically advanced than the previous MRI unit used at the hospitals. The unit’s strong magnet produces highly detailed images and faster exam results.

— The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register

WEIRTON

City council will be asked to vote on what officials anticipate to be the first of a series of budget revisions for the remainder of the fiscal year, as part of the agenda for Monday’s regular meeting.

The revision was part of recommendations made Wednesday by the city’s Finance Committee. Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday.

According to Finance Director Diana Smoljanovich, a large portion of the revisions is the result of pay raises approved for some employees last year.

“We’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg on this,” she said, noting discussions had been held since June.

As part of the proposal, the city is anticipating an additional $20,000 in revenue from the gas and oil severance tax, $45,000 from the hotel occupancy tax, $750,000 from the sales tax, $75,000 more from the Interstate Registration Plan fees, $50,000 in police protection fees, $50,000 in fire service fees and $65,000 more in federal government grants.

The city is decreasing its unassigned fund balance by $454,882.

— Weirton Daily Times

WHEELING

While half of the city’s $2 user fee will go toward a planned public safety building for first responders, Wheeling’s city leaders are ready to see the other half go to improving infrastructure.

At a brief council meeting Tuesday, council members discussed the future work, which includes five items this year among a total list of 22 projects — Baker Street Bridge repair, Shilling Bridge renovation, slip and road repairs on Floral Drive, and two slip repairs on Glenwood Road.

Mayor Glenn Elliott commended the Public Works Committee for compiling the list, saying that the city’s needs will be met using funds provided by the weekly user fee.

The fee, which went into effect at the start of the year, applies to all who work in Wheeling and charges $2 each week. The fee is expected to affect as many as 16,000 people and generate more than $1.6 million annually for the city.

— The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register

Influenza is widespread now in the local area and throughout West Virginia.

Howard Gamble, administrator of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, said this is the highest level of influenza activity, according to health classification.

All areas of the Mountain State are seeing elevated rates of health care visits for influenza-like illnesses, he added.

“Laboratory detections of influenza has doubled once again, with Influenza Type B detections remaining predominant,” he said. “Across West Virginia, we have seen 14 respiratory outbreaks and no pediatric deaths.”

Those statistics, the most recent available, were for the week ending Dec. 28.

“Only influenza-associated deaths in those less than 18 years old are reportable to the state,” said Jessica Holstein, DHHR assistant director of communications. “The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health has had no such deaths reported so far in the 2019-2020 season.”

Public health officials still recommend influenza vaccination for all persons, age 6 months and older, without contraindications.

— The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register

NORTH CENTRAL

ELKINS

Elkins city officials continued codification discussions at the most recent Elkins City Council Rules and Ordinances Committee meeting on Thursday afternoon.

City Clerk Jessica Sutton described the need for codification during a meeting last year.

“The published charter code on the (city’s) web site is from 1991,” she said. “Anything newer than that isn’t there… It’s not good service to the public. We really need to get it all online.”

On Thursday, Sutton proposed making various changes within the existing charter during the codification process, including whether dollar amounts for fines should be included in the code and how City Council should be referred to within the code.

“Whatever you choose is going to be incorporated into the draft and then you’ll eventually adopt that draft, so then everything will be the same,” explained Sutton. “Then, moving forward, whenever a new ordinance is drafted, they’ll use that same language, that same term.”

Another possible change to city code is how long a dog may bark before it’s considered a nuisance or disturbance.

— The Inter-Mountain

EAST

MARTINSBURG

Krysta Mayville, wellness center, was recently named WVU Medicine Berkeley Medical Center’s Quality Service Award winner for October 2019.

Each month, the hospital’s service award committee selects a Quality Service Award recipient. Mayville received 15 nominations from members of The Wellness Center’s Weight Loss Boot Camp.

“Krysta is well organized and pleasant. She put a lot of time and effort into making each week of Boot Camp enjoyable, but challenging. Her positive attitude is infectious. She motivated me to push myself harder. She is a role model who loves what she does,” the boot camp participants wrote.

Criteria for selection as a Quality Service Award recipient includes: demonstrating a consistently high level of productivity and quality of work along with a high degree of initiative in performing work responsibilities, displaying exceptional dependability, exhibiting effective relationships with others, displaying a commitment to service and serving the Berkeley Medical Center community, and meeting the criteria for the system’s mission, vision and values.

— The Journal

Economic development continues to grow in the Eastern Panhandle as the Berkeley County Planning Commission moved forward plans to bring a convenience store and Dairy Queen to the Spring Mills area.

The planning commission held a public hearing for the sketch plan advancement of the proposed BFS Convenience Store and Dairy Queen in the Falling Waters district.

The construction would be joining other chain retailers in the area such as Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin Donuts.

The developer for the project is BFS Companies out of Morgantown, and the engineer for the project is Fox and Associates, Inc. out of Hagerstown.

According to county application paperwork, the project proposes the construction of a 3,828-square-foot convenience store to include gas pumps and a 2,904-square-foot Dairy Queen on 1.99 acres located at the intersection of Hammonds Mill Road and Vantage View Drive.

The developer requested an exception to not install sidewalks, stating the exception should be granted “as there are not sidewalks currently in the vicinity.”

County records stated staff recommended granting the sidewalk exception.

— The Journal

A revised version of the Berkeley County File GAE: Employee Grievance Policy was approved to be put out for public comment after a 4-1 vote at the Berkeley County Board of Education meeting Monday night, drawing contention among board members.

The file deals with providing “tenured employees subject to the superintendent’s disciplinary recommendation of a suspension or termination of their contract a pre-disciplinary hearing” and allowing “procedure for the resolution of employment grievances raised by the employees of the Berkeley County Board of Education.”

In the revised file, definitions of harassment, reprisal, employer and favoritism were removed, as well as removing much of the grievance procedures. Justin Schooley, assistant superintendent at BCS, said the revisions were made so the file was not regurgitating state code but pairing down language of the state code.

“It’s a trend that’s going across the state,” he said. “Instead of repeating word-for-word policies, it’s making reference to the state code and the state policy.”

Schooley said the revisions allow for alternative processes for hearing employee discipline cases.

— The Journal

SHEPHERDSTOWN

For many farmers, the winter months can be tough. For the vendors of the Shepherdstown Indoor Winter Farmers Market, however, the cold weather won’t drive out business.

The market was held Sunday inside of the War Memorial Building. This is the first time the Shepherdstown Farmers Market has had an event in the winter, said Leslie Prillaman, market manager of Shepherdstown Farmers Market.

“This was an idea that was born in October,” she said. “We just floated it around to all of the vendors, and almost everybody said ‘yes.’”

Prillaman said the Shepherdstown Community Club allowed the market to set up in the War Memorial Building. She said the market will convene the first and third Sundays of January, February and March.

Unaware of what the turnout of a farmers market in January would be, Prillaman said she was surprised at the large numbers.

“I try not to set the bar too high,” she said. “When we all showed up here we wondered, ‘is anybody going to come?’ This has definitely blown away expectations.”

Prillaman said she estimates that about 200 people came to shop at the market.

— The Journal

SOUTH

BECKLEY

Beckley Common Council and city attorney Bill File are considering whether the city needs an ordinance to welcome medical cannabis growers to town.

Any ordinance would guarantee medical cannabis companies that it is legal to grow marijuana and operate medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits. The regulation would offer assurance against law enforcement shutting down medical dispensaries or growth of the plant.

Councilman-at-Large Tom Sopher said Tuesday that File had passed around copies of an example ordinance to members of Council several weeks ago.

“I’m not totally against the marijuana people coming to town, or anything,” Sopher said. “But the first ordinance Bill gave us, I had questions with some of the ordinance, how it was written.

“It almost sounded like you couldn’t sell CBD oils, like, at Walmart.

“Whoever the pot people were, they would have a monopoly on the CBD oils.”

Sopher emphasized that no ordinance has yet been proposed. The ordinance File gave to Council members was an example of an ordinance.

He added he would not support any ordinance that allowed only one marijuana company to sell products in city limits.

— The Register-Herald

OHIO VALLEY

PARKERSBURG

West Virginia University at Parkersburg is returning to downtown Parkersburg.

The West Virginia University at Parkersburg Board of Governors voted at its regular meeting Wednesday to establish a new downtown location to house the new West Virginia Center for Civic Life, the Mid-Ohio Valley Arts Collaborative and the community coordinator for a new project that will be announced at a later date.

The board also voted to enter into a rental agreement for the property at 414 Market St. near Fifth Street.

“This month we will formally accept the keys to our new Downtown Parkersburg location,” WVU-Parkersburg President Chris Gilmer said. ”We are taking WVU-P actively back into the downtown community with a number of other projects under consideration.”

The center will be led by Senta Goudy.

Gilmer and Goudy worked to secure $230,000 in new grant funding from the local Ross Foundation to provide the seed money for the newly formed MOV Arts Collaborative.

“It is an opportunity for the university to take a leadership role in helping to coordinate arts in the Valley and to support nonprofit arts organizations,” Gilmer said.

— Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Isaac Hardy, a senior at Parkersburg High School, has earned a perfect score on the ACT exam.

Hardy took the test in December and received a composite score of 36, the highest possible score. According to a press release from ACT, fewer than half of 1% of students who take the ACT earn a top score.

In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2019, only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million students who took the ACT earned a top composite score of 36.

Hardy credits his success with a lifelong dedication to academics and months of preparation for the exam.

“My parents especially have always encouraged me. My father is a teacher, and he taught me the importance of getting good grades and learning,” he said. “I’ve had really good teachers that have helped me along the way.”

Hardy said he began taking ACT practice exams in October.

“On those I tended to score a 35,” he said. “I was surprised to score a 36 on the exam.”

Hardy is involved with the swim team and physics club and is a member of the National Honor Society.

— Parkersburg News and Sentinel

SISTERSVILLE

A love for Victorian architecture turned into an economic boost for Sistersville after Terry Wiley acquired several buildings and opened businesses in the town over the past 12 years.

Although not a native of Tyler County, Wiley became familiar with the area when he was young. His family owned a farm in Middlebourne.

“My dad and I used to come up and hunt when I was a little boy,” Wiley said.

After stumbling upon Sistersville to find cell phone service, Wiley got the opportunity to explore what the town had to offer. While he sat in his parked car, he noticed a for sale sign in the window of the building in front of him.

At the time it was Dudley’s Flower shop.

“I bought the thing, I never had been inside. This was such a neat little town; it was worth it,” Wiley said.

Since Dudley’s closed in the area, Wiley decided the town needed a flower shop and opened the Sistersville Florist on Wells Street.

— Parkersburg News and Sentinel

METRO VALLEY

CHARLESTON

A coal producer has given notice that it plans to lay off 65 workers in southern West Virginia in March.

Panther Creek Mining LLC issued the layoff notice for its operations in Eskdale, the Kanawha County Commission said in a news release Tuesday.

Panther Creek was part of Lexington, Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining’s purchase of a substantial amount of bankrupt Patriot Coal’s assets through a 2015 auction.

“Recent weakness in global coal markets, and the corresponding drop in prices to multi-year lows, is the reason for the Company’s decision,” Blackhawk said in a news release.

Blackhawk said employees will be encouraged to apply for open positions elsewhere in the company.

— The Associated Press

The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that a planned reduction in nighttime operating hours for the air traffic control tower at Charleston’s Yeager Airport will not take place, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., told Kanawha County Commission members on Tuesday.

In November, Yeager was identified as one of 15 airports in the FAA’s Central Service Area targeted for reductions in control tower operating hours.

Since then, the airport and county have sought to dissuade the FAA from following through with the plan to reduce nighttime hours for the Charleston control tower.

— The Charleston Gazette-Mail

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