The Associated Press
Hatfield-McCoy trail permit sales jump in 2 counties
BRAMWELL (AP) — Mercer and McDowell counties are becoming popular destinations for Hatfield-McCoy Trail System riders.
Hatfield-McCoy Trail Authority executive director Jeff Lusk says permit sales for the Indian Ridge Trail in McDowell County are up 25 percent from 2012.
Lusk tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that permit sales for the new Pocahontas Trail in Mercer County also are strong.
This growth has created a need for more lodging in Mercer and McDowell counties. Lusk says almost all lodging providers are booked up.
He says the entire system’s ridership has grown every year since 2006. He expects the trail system to break a ridership record this spring.
Local officials seek state audit of port authority
WEIRTON (AP) — Local officials are seeking a state audit of the Weirton Area Port Authority due to concerns about its operations.
Their concerns include the authority’s organizational structure. They say it’s complicated and unclear, with limited government oversight.
They made the request in a February letter to Senate President Jeff Kessler. The Herald-Star of Steubenville, Ohio, obtained a copy of the letter last week through the Freedom of Information Act.
The newspaper says the letter was signed by the presidents of the Brooke County and Hancock County commissions, Weirton City Manager Valerie Means and Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle.
Authority chairman B.J. DeFelice says he wasn’t aware of the audit request, but he welcomes the opportunity.
Jobless rate drops across state
CHARLESTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in all 55 West Virginia counties in March.
WorkForce West Virginia said five counties still reported unemployment rates of more than 12 percent, led by Clay County’s 14.6 percent. Others are Webster, 13.3 percent; Wirt, 12.6 percent; and Calhoun and Roane, 12 percent. Monongalia continues to have the lowest rate at 4.1 percent.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7 percent, down three-tenths of a percentage point from February’s rate.
State Farm: 4,400 wind-hail damage claims in the state
CHARLESTON (AP) — State Farm says the most common homeowner insurance claims in West Virginia are from wind and hail damage.
The insurance company says there were nearly 4,400 such claims in W.Va. last year.
State Farm says the average cost of those claims was more than $6,500.
Nationally, the insurer says its policyholders incurred damage losses from wind and hail totaling more than $3.9 billion in 2012. Texas led the nation with more than 47,000 such claims, followed by Illinois, 41,000, and New York, 31,000.
Kanawha school board agrees to give library $1.9 million
CHARLESTON (AP) — The Kanawha County school board is contributing more than $1.9 million to help support the Kanawha County Public Library through July 1.
The school board on Thursday also voted to pursue an excess levy in November on behalf of the library that would bring in taxpayers’ dollars to support library services past that date.
The Charleston Gazette reports library officials told the board the funding would be enough to keep the library’s branches open.
but “it would be tight.”
The West Virginia Supreme Court in February freed the school board from allocating part of its annual budget to fund the library. The decision ended a decade-long legal battle against being forced to give millions each year to the library.