Across the State – WV News

Posted: March 22, 2020 at 9:53 pm


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Chick-fil-A welcomed hundreds of new customers during its grand opening Thursday.

The fast food chain began serving hungry, new customers bright and early at 6:30 a.m. through its drive-thru window only, due to statewide health department restrictions in relation to the coronavirus.

Joe Bell, spokesman for Cafaro Co., the malls parent company, said the opening marks one of 18 restaurants and eateries at the Ohio Valley Mall that will continue to serve food via carry-out or delivery.

Chick-fil-A Business Manager Hannah Yount said more than 350 people had driven through the drive-thru before noon on the opening day.

We have been pretty steady all day so far. Its been a great turnout, she said.

Employees were busy working in the midst of a lunch rush, she said.

Were cranking through it, she added.

The eatery is famous for serving a variety of chicken entrees including breakfast, lunch and dinner options and has stores across the country.

The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread across the country, local organizations are reaching out to make sure Weirton residents dont go without.

Numerous local organizations and churches are pulling together to ensure our citizens have food, Mayor Harold Miller said on Thursday.

According to information provided by the mayor, the Weirton Christian Center and Table of Hope will be distributing take-home meals on select days, while food banks will be available through the Salvation Army, Community Bread Basket, Family Resource Center and First United Methodist Church.

The Weirton Christian Center, located at 117 Ivy St., will be providing take-home meals for children between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those interested are asked to go to the back of the building for the meal.

Table of Hope, located at 3301 West St., will provide take-out meals between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

The Brooke County Commission, Tuesday, discussed local response to the COVID-19 coronavirus and voiced support for the proposed development of a statistical port district in the area.

Mike Bolen, administrator of the countys health department, told the commissioners, Were in the prevention stage right now and we want to keep it that way as much as possible. We want to keep it from spreading.

He said medical researchers are still learning about the disease and health officials are updating public guidelines as they know more.

Were doing the things we know work for now. Social distancing works, Bolen said.

If you look at the state of West Virginia, were not spring chickens, he said, noting the state has a high percentage of senior citizens.

Public health officials have said the disease presents the greatest risk to the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.

If we dont do anything, we have a very vulnerable population and we could overtax our healthcare system and emergency responders very quickly, Bolen said.

On Thursday the Randolph County Commission unanimously denied the City of Elkins request to annex three properties by minor boundary adjustment.

During Thursdays commission meeting, officials said the request was denied due to legislative changes in West Virginia code 8-6-5(d), as was recommended by Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker.

Prior to voting, Randolph County Commissioner Mark Scott stated, There are some concerns that the city has about us taking an action on this plan, and weve sought the advice of our prosecutor. He came back to us and said subsequent to the request that was made on Feb. 6, the state legislature made a change to the law, which says that in order for a minor boundary adjustment to be done by a city, they have to get the approval of 100% of the stakeholders that are involved in that annexation.

With the three that were presented to us, that means that they would have to go to the property owners of all three of those properties, get their approval and then apply for us to approve the annexation, Scott said.

Davis & Elkins College pre-service teachers gained classroom experience and helped Elkins Middle School students learn more about digital citizenship in connection with social media.

Over a two-day period in February, 22 D&E students instructed courses for all sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Elkins Middle School. Digital citizenship focuses on teaching respect, responsibility, social etiquette and how the misuse of social media can lead to problems with the law, school and the workplace. The project coordinates with the curriculum in D&Es EDUC 120 Education Technology course taught by D&E instructor of education Danielle Riggins.

Vincent Kitch has been hired as the new director of Arts and Cultural Development, according to a release from the city of Morgantown.

Kitch was selected out of a pool of 112 candidates. With more than 20 years of experience in government-based arts administration, Kitch has served as the director of cultural services for the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, and as the cultural arts manager for the city of Carlsbad, California. Kitch holds a Master of Music from Illinois State University and has certification from the Harvard University Senior Executives in State and Local Government Executive Education Program.

I am excited to have Vincent join the citys team and to become a leader within the community for arts and cultural affairs, said Morgantown Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli. His experience in municipal arts administration and management will be a great addition to the areas existing arts groups.

Kitch currently resides in Fort Collins, Colorado, and will be relocating to Morgantown in the coming weeks. His expected start date is April 6.

It was business as usual in the Berkeley County Council chambers Thursday morning as council members approved the airport ordinance and provided updates on the ever-changing coronavirus pandemic.

What was an ongoing matter beginning in the latter half of 2019, the council discussed and ultimately unanimously adopted an updated Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport Authority runway protection zone ordinance.

The ordinance protects both the airport and community to ensure proper space is allowed around the runway, as well as prohibits the height of structures built near the runway.

Heather Williams, planning director, had previously provided council members with packets of the original ordinance adopted in 2004 and updates to the ordinance that were discussed by the planning commission over the last few weeks.

Williams also provided maps and overlays showcasing the zone boundary surrounding the airport runway and added the materials would be available to the public on the countys website in the near future.

When he took the position of chief of police for the Martinsburg Police Department in 2015, Maury Richards said he wanted to tackle the citys drug problem and make downtown a safe place to be. A goal that he has accomplished, Richards is now resigning from the position.

In October 2015, Richards took the oath of office surrounded by family, friends and supporters after recently moving to his Martinsburg home.

The 24-year veteran of the Chicago police force was selected from 39 applicants from across the country, including two members of the Martinsburg police force. He replaced Kevin Miller as chief of police.

Beginning in 2006, Richards served as the lieutenant of police for Chicagos 4th District, which is South Chicago. As watch commander, he performed the function of captain, supervising 120 officers and directing all district operations and personnel.

Once in office, Richards tackled these issues head on. He also has been a proponent of prevention and treatment, as well as incarceration in some cases.

During his tenure at MPD, the department has had success with its Drug House Ordinance, Operation Spring Cleaning and the Martinsburg Initiative.

With thousands of bills sent out to addresses throughout the county, Public Service Stormwater District officials offered an update on the controversial stormwater management fee approved and implemented in the latter half of 2019.

Greg Rhoe, president of the Stormwater Management Board, offered councilmembers and the community an update on the continuing status of the recently implemented stormwater management fee Thursday, a fee that has seen its fair share of backlash since it was approved last year.

The implementation of the fee had a lot of moving parts because of the expanded customer base that we ended up billing those that the sewer or water district did not previously have information on, Rhoe said. We have billed about 38,000 clients; roughly 22,000 on water and sewer and roughly 15,700 non-water and non-sewer customers comes out to a gross billing of $1,540,000, but that doesnt show collectability. We anticipate receiving roughly $1.3 million back, which is right around where we need to be according to MS4 guidelines.

The Beckley Area Foundation has established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which will provide resources to local nonprofit organizations working to provide aid to those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Donations to CERF will support emergency needs identified by our nonprofit partners in human services, health, housing and education, and will make grants to nonprofits providing aid to impacted individuals and families in Raleigh County.

CERF is designed to complement the work of local public health, nonprofit and government entities and to expand local capacity to support individuals and families experiencing hardship because of the outbreak and related closures and disruptions.

Foundation leaders will be closely monitoring how the coronavirus impacts the community and will deploy financial resources to best meet evolving needs.

Individuals, corporations, donor advisors and private foundations are encouraged to join BAF in these efforts by making a gift to CERF. All gifts are tax-deductible and will be used to support local nonprofit organizations.

While restaurants and facilities like gyms in West Virginia and Ohio have been ordered to close, other establishments continue to assess the best way to do business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For the Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Ohio Valley ReStore in Vienna, that means not doing business at all right now.

ReStore Director Ben Bradley said they had been monitoring the situation and decided to close Wednesday based on the latest guidance from Habitat for Humanity International. Hes hoping it will only last for the 15-day period recently discussed by President Donald Trump but said its too early to set a date to reopen again.

Its just so difficult to plan from one day to the next when the information is changing so rapidly, Bradley said.

The decision was made after weighing factors that include the health and safety of employees and the community, as well as the economic health of those groups, Bradley said. ReStores 12 employees will be paid through the current pay period, which ends a week from today, he said. After that, the situation will be re-evaluated.

Donations will not be accepted during the closure, but Bradley said theyll need them once the ReStore is able to reopen.

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

The Wood County Board of Education held its first virtual meeting Thursday, receiving an update on the pandemic which made the remote meeting necessary.

Board members joined Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook on a video call Thursday evening to discuss COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, which in recent weeks has shut down schools, businesses and social gatherings throughout the United States and worldwide.

West Virginia was the last state to have a confirmed case of coronavirus, which led to more strict regulations including shutting down public schools and limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Thursdays meeting was broadcast through Wood County Schools new Innovate site at http://www.wcsinnovate.com and the MicrosoftTeams app.

We thought it was important to touch base with the board, said board President Rick Olcott. More than 45 people, including the five board members and Hosaflook, joined Thursdays online meeting.

Hosaflook updated the school board on actions taken since last weeks announcement by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to shut down schools statewide. Hosaflook said the districts priority has been to ensure students are fed and educated during the shutdown.

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Airport Manager Glen Kelly says the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport has yet to see any negative impact from the COVID-19 situation.

The practice of sanitizing all primary contact surfaces started in January when the virus became more widespread around the world, Kelly said.

Uniforms also are washed on site so employees dont have to take them home.

Weve been very diligent on trying to stay ahead of the curve, he said.

The airport is still operating with its usual staff and under regular protocols.

Fuel sales are still up from previous years and have not been affected. Fuel sales and rentals are a majority of the revenue for the airport.

(We are) very happy the fuel sales are still there, Kelly said.

Contour Airlines is continuing to offer flights. Kelly said they are still seeing traffic from commercial flights.

The airline was running at the same capacity but Monday they started to see a market decrease on outbound enplanements.

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Despite a likely pending spike in coronavirus claims and the collapse of the stock market, the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency remains in good financial health, members of the PEIA Finance Board were advised Thursday.

PEIA financial officers are projecting a spike in costs for COVID-19 testing and medical care for PEIA insurees likely will be offset by a drop-off in elective procedures during the pandemic.

We will see spiked utilization of services with the pandemic, but we also will see a decline in elective services, Jason Haught, PEIAs chief financial officer, told the board.

Not only do we think members are going to stay away from health-care providers for elective procedures, some facilities are completely disallowing elective procedures.

Meanwhile, through January, PEIA was on track to finish the 2019-20 budget year with a $264.5 million balance, as medical and pharmaceutical claims have come in below estimates so far, Haught said.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

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Across the State - WV News

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March 22nd, 2020 at 9:53 pm

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