The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 25, 2012

State news briefs

The Associated Press


Project to help set public workers’ pay drags on

CHARLESTON (AP) — A project to overhaul the way West Virginia sets and increases pay levels for public workers has dragged on for five years and is in its third contract.

The Charleston Gazette says the effort has also generated more than $400,000 in fees.

This month, the state signed the latest contract with the Hay Group. The Philadelphia firm is helping the state develop a new job classification and compensation system for full-time government employees.

Gordon Simmons of the West Virginia Public Workers Union calls the project a mess that gives “bureaucracy a bad name.”

Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown said personnel division employees are working “continuously” on the project.

The project is expected to be complete by Dec. 31.

Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus

HUNTINGTON (AP) — The Cabell-Huntington Health Department says it has trapped mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The department’s director of environmental health, Stan Mills, told The Herald Dispatch that thousands of the pests from many different locations have tested positive for the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says West Virginia has joined the list of 47 states reporting West Nile virus infections in people, birds or mosquitoes.

Officials with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department say tests have shown a man in his 40s has tested positive in initial screenings for the disease. West Nile is a mosquito-borne disease that causes encephalitis, or swelling of the brain.

Southern resort starts nighttime zip lining

OAK HILL (AP) — As if zip lining weren’t exciting enough.

Now ACE Adventure Resort is offering nighttime events.

The 1,500-acre resort along the New River near Oak Hill will offer Friday and Saturday night tours, starting now.

Marketing director Beth Gill says the trip takes about two hours and includes seven zip lines and one sky bridge.

The night course is part of a zip line network expanded last year.

In addition to the usual safety gear, nighttime zip-liners will also get a head lamp.

Gill says that with limited vision, the senses of hearing and touch have to take over.

During test runs, it’s the leap off the platform into the darkness that gets the most reaction.

ACE guides more than 50,000 whitewater rafters on the New and Gauley rivers a year.

Photos sought for W.Va. wildflower calendar

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia officials are seeking pictures of wildflower for use in the latest “Roadsides in Bloom” calendar.

The state departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation are sponsoring the 10th annual West Virginia Operation Wildflower calendar photo contest.

Officials say those wishing to submit entries have until Oct. 1.

Judges will then select 12 photos to represent the months of the year, and a grand prize winner’s photo will be put on the calendar cover.

The state’s Operation Wildflower beautification program includes more than 250 acres of wildflowers grown on West Virginia’s roadways.

The calendar is a joint effort between the Department of Environmental Protection and the state Division of Highways.

More information about the calendar or the rules of the contest is available through the Adopt-A-Highway Program at 800-322-5530.