Saturday, February 26, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...2-27-'11
- 'Save the American Dream' rallies could be heard across the nation Saturday. Hundreds of teachers, steel workers and AFL-CIO members rallied outside the Charleston Capitol to protest Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's budget bill that would increase benefit costs for public employees and curb their collective bargaining rights. The protestors say unions have brought on the 40 hour work week and are important to the labor rights of our country. Similar protests are scheduled in the future. Around a hundred people gathered at the state Capitol to show support for the embattled citizens of Libya. While holding signs and chanting “ free Libya” and “1-2-3-4 show Qaddafi to the door” protesters expressed both their concern for the people and their hope for a future without Qaddafi.
- Friday, Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced $1.1 million in grants to help West Virginia flooding victims relocate through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program which consists of state and federal funds. The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is working with the federal government in hopes of securing an additional $7 million for the program. More than $785,000 will go to Wyoming County for seven projects. The grants also cover two projects in Marion County and one in Kanawha County.
- West Virginia's spring forest fire season begins on March 1st and runs through May 31st. In 2011, 127 fires have burned 951 acres across the state. During the season, all outdoor burning is prohibited between 7:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. Division of Forestry officials say, after 4:00 P.M., residents can burn brush, leaves and limbs, but fires must be supervised until they are completely out. If a fire escapes and causes a forest fire, the person who set it may face charges and fines and may be liable for the costs of the damage and fighting the fire.
- Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, says the department will have to reduce services and raise fees to make up for a funding cut under the proposed 2011-12 Charleston budget. The health department gets $200,000, about 5 percent of its $3.6 million budget, from the city every year, but city officials are considering cutting that to $100,000. At a recent city council meeting, Mayor Danny Jones said Charleston funds the health department through its direct contribution, now $200,000 a year, and through the county's contribution, also $200,000, which is funded through taxes. The state funds 35 percent of the health department's budget, while remaining budget contributions come from a variety of grants, federal programs and agencies.
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