The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 15, 2013

State news briefs


The Associated Press

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WVU dean of students elected to national board



MORGANTOWN (AP) — West Virginia University dean of students Corey Farris has been elected to a three-year term on the National Student Exchange board of directors.

The nonprofit NSE enables students to take a semester or academic year to attend other member colleges while making progress toward their degree. It allows them to explore new cultures and take courses not offered at WVU.

Farris was elected to represented universities in the southeast region of the country. It will mark his second stint on the NSE board. He served from 1997 to 2000, including three years as chairman.

W.Va. AG joins other states in 2 challenges



CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia’s attorney general is joining other states that are challenging a section of federal bankruptcy law.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has also filed a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging New York’s tough new gun law, according to media reports.

The bankruptcy challenge involves the Dodd-Frank Act. A section of the law allows the federal government to decide which of a bankrupt company’s creditors to bail out.

Morrisey said West Virginia holds investments in many institutions that could be covered by the so-called bail-out provision.

Morrisey also announced Thursday the state is joining 19 other states to challenge a section of the New York gun law that requires residents to show a particular need before they can obtain a concealed weapons permit.

Specialty crop grant applications being taken



CHARLESTON (AP) — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2013 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Funding for 2013 is expected to be about $180,000. Applicants must submit a two-page proposal by March 15 for review. Selected projects will then be required to submit a formal grant proposal.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is available to groups and organizations involved in the production, processing and/or marketing of fruits and vegetables.

Highways officials decide to blow up bridge after all



CHARLESTON (AP) — A bridge that used to connect Nitro and St. Albans is going out with a bang.

Division of Highways officials said Thursday the piecemeal manner in which they had started to dismantle the 79-year-old span wasn’t working. Crews began cutting sections of the Dick Henderson Bridge and lowering them onto a barge to be shipped to a Kokosing company scrapyard last week. But officials say the remaining pieces are too heavy.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports officials now plan to shoot explosives onto the remaining portions and blast them apart.

The company must give the public two weeks’ notice before blasting. Division spokeswoman Carrie Bly says Kokosing will blast the St. Albans portion at 10 a.m. March 1 and the Nitro side at 8 a.m. March 8.

Weirton area ranks low in high-income



WEIRTON (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau says the Weirton and Steuben-ville metropolitan area is one of two in the country with the lowest percentage of high-income households.

It defines high income as being in the top 5 percent of national income distribution, which is a household income of at least $191,469 per year.

According to the report, only 1.3 percent of households in the area that includes two counties in the Northern Panhandle and one in Ohio were considered high income.

Conversely, the New York City suburbs in Connecticut had the highest percentage of high-income households at 17.9 percent.

The report says coastal areas had large proportions of counties with high concentrations of high-income households. The area comprised of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, tended to have low concentrations of such households.

Bluefield picks buildings for demolition

BLUEFIELD (AP) — Bluefield officials are preparing to tear down more dilapidated structures.

Six buildings will meet the wrecking ball next week, if the weather is favorable.

The demolitions are part of an ongoing effort to rid the city of blighted property.

City manager Jim Ferguson told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that about 400 structures have been demolished since 2004. Another 100 structures will be torn down by the end of 2014.

City building inspector Gerald Steele said structures targeted for demolition are beyond reasonable repair.

W.Va. solicitor general has new title

CHARLESTON (AP) — The solicitor general in the state attorney general’s office is taking on a new title until he gets a West Virginia law license.

Elbert Lin’s new title is senior assistant to the attorney general. Lin was named to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s senior staff last week. The former Washington, D.C., lawyer came to the job without a license to practice law in West Virginia.

Morrisey’s office told the Charleston Gazette Lin is “in the process of applying” for a license.

Lin makes $132,000 a year.