Roane County reports math teacher shortage less than a month before classes begin

By: Lauren Talotta | Posted: July 19, 2018 | Source: WCHSTV

Earlier this month, the Board of Education called it “a problem of crisis proportions.” Nearly half of the mathematics teaching positions at the high school – vacant

Earlier this month, the Roane County Board of Education called it “a problem of crisis proportions.” Nearly half of the mathematics teaching positions at the high school – vacant. School officials are carefully weighing their options, looking for the solution to filling those positions.

Grandfather Robert Parrish still has some time before Niyah and Blake attend Roane County High School, but that doesn’t mean he’s not concerned about the county’s teacher shortage now.

“Finding math teachers is always a hard position anyway. Even going back 40 years, I know that was my hardest subject,” Parrish said.

Hiring those who are qualified is an equation of its own. But Superintendent Dr. Richard Duncan said…


Kanawha board hires Hoover architect, Crawford relative; no bats found

By: Ryan Quinn | Posted: July 18, 2018 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

The Kanawha County Board of Education Wednesday hired away an architect on the new Herbert Hoover High who’s also a board member’s relative, and heard no protected bats were found on planned properties for Hoover and the consolidated Bridge/Clendenin elementary.

The elementary school is expected to open in fall 2020, and the new Hoover school in fall 2021.

Charles Wilson, the county school system’s executive director of facilities planning, said he doesn’t expect the absence of bats to move up completion by an entire school year, but perhaps could allow a mid-year finish.

The school board voted 4-0 to hire Charleston-based Williamson Shriver Architects employee Andrew Crawford, effective Aug. 13, as one of the county’s two facility planning coordinators. Board member Jim Crawford, who recused himself from the vote, said Andrew Crawford is his brother’s grandson.

Carol Hamric, Kanawha’s human resources executive director, said…


Seven homes now complete after two years of long-term flood recovery

Shauna Johnson/
Clendenin’s main street as it looked two days after the flood.

By: Brad McElhinny | Posted: July 13, 2018 | Source: WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Rise West Virginia program has completed seven homes during the two years after hundreds of West Virginians lost their homes in devastating floods.

That’s the bottom line in an update today by Adjutant Gen. James Hoyer of the West Virginia National Guard.

West Virginia’s long-term flood recovery program has been beset by delays and frustration. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which approved the state’s use of $149 million in disaster relief grants on Feb. 20, continues to label the state a slow spender.

HUD has labeled West Virginia a slow spender at the beginning of July, June, May and April.

On June 4, after simmering controversy over the…


With new school construction in Kanawha County, neighbors might have to move

By: Lauren Talotta | Posted: July 12, 2018 | Source: WVAH

Plans are moving forward for the construction of a new school for students who previously attended Clendenin Elementary School and Bridge Elementary School.

Plans are moving forward for the construction of a new school for students who previously attended Clendenin Elementary School and Bridge Elementary School. But neighbors near Wolverton Mountain Road are up in arms after they were informed that their property might be considered for development, forcing them to move.

Jack Swiney has lived on Fairwater Road since 1962. His family has owned the property even longer.

“This was my grandparents’ home built around 1890,” Swiney said.

Then came the flood of 2016.

“I had about 18 inches in my house; four-and-a-half feet in the garage,” Swiney said.

Thousands of dollars later, Swiney moved back into his renovated home where he and his family intended to spend the rest of their days – until they received a letter from Kanawha County Schools.

“This is absolutely the worst part of my job,” said Charles Wilson of Kanawha County Schools. “Eminent Domain is defined…


Private bridges dedicated in Clendenin

Photo Courtesy: West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Two bridges were dedicated Wednesday.

By: MetroNews Staff | Posted: July 11, 2018 at 9:19 p.m. | Source: WV MetroNews

CLENDENIN, W.Va. — Two private bridges in Clendenin were dedicated Wednesday as part of the efforts to recover from the 2016 floods.

The bridges were the latest projects of West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, in which the organization has completed 56 private access bridges since the June 2016 flood happened.

Ben Cisco, bridge project manager at West Virginia VOAD, said the projects and related reaction never gets old.

“It’s always a great feeling to be able to give a family that has a hard time just to get to their house,” he said. “It’s very rewarding, what we do.”

The bridges are paid with…


WV Legislature Issues Two Subpoenas in Failed Flood Aid

By: Mark Curtis | Posted: July 11, 2018 | Source: WOWKTV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The controversial “RISE West Virginia” flood relief program is back before the legislature. The joint house-senate committee on flooding convenes again at 9:00 Thursday morning. Members are trying to find out why millions of dollars in federal aid under the RISE program was never handed out to many victims of the 2016 floods. The Department of Commerce was managing “RISE” but a number of key employees have resigned. One has now been subpoenaed to testify before the committee Thursday.

“Of course, very much outraged. It’s just unconscionable that we’ve allowed some of our citizens to languish in agony when we have these dollars to spend and help is available,” said State Sen. Ed  Gaunch, Co-chair, (R) Joint Flooding Committee.

Because of the problems at RISE, other agencies and volunteer groups had to jump in to help.


Five counties to receive $1M in recovery funding

By: Woody Holdren | Posted: July 11, 2018 | Source: Beckley Register-Herald

Five counties in West Virginia will receive $1 million for residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services from the Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund.

In a release, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) said Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas and Roane counties will receive funding.

The Ryan Brown Addiction Prevention and Recovery Fund mandates that DHHR identify need and allocate additional treatment beds in the state. These beds are intended to provide SUD treatment services in existing or newly constructed facilities.

“DHHR’s mission is to join with communities and families in providing opportunities for citizens to achieve health and independence,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill J. Crouch. “An expansion in SUD treatment services will result in a decrease of overdose deaths as well as a decrease in economic costs to the state.”


Flood committee subpoenas senior official with RISE WV

By: Jake Zuckerman, Charleston Gazette-Mail | Posted: July 11, 2018 | Source: WV Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In a show of force, the Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding has issued its first subpoena as its probe into a stalled flood recovery program advances.

The committee announced in a news release that it would meet Thursday and has issued a subpoena to the Department of Commerce’s former director of community advancement and development, Mary Jo Thompson, a senior official with RISE West Virginia.

Emails show Thompson confirmed to a Senate analyst that she would appear for the committee’s June 26 meeting but failed to do so. Legislators indicated at the meeting that they were stood up, and Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Ed Gaunch, R-Kanawha, immediately began discussing subpoena power.

Read the entire article:

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Recent Elkview-area outages highlight importance of cycle-based vegetation management program

By: Phil Moye | Posted: July 11, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Since late June many residents in an area from Big Chimney to Elkview have experienced several tree-related power outages. Many of the outages were lengthy and most took place the first week of July, a period in which high temperatures and heat indexes helped produce a series of isolated but severe summer storms.

“We understand why people are upset about it,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and COO. “It’s not the type of reliability we aim to provide, it’s not the quality of service our customers deserve, but it is something to which we’re dedicating significant resources to make better.”

Beam explained that across its West Virginia service area Appalachian Power is implementing a cycle-based right of way maintenance program, where vegetation is cleared from along electrical circuits end-to-end every four years. Since 2014 the company has invested more than $190 million on its cycle-based vegetation management program, and is seeing an overall drop in tree-related outages of 32 percent on circuits that have been completed.

Tree clearing work began in 2017 on the Elkview-area circuit plagued by recent outages. Unfortunately most of the recent outages came from tree contact in areas still scheduled to be cleared.

“We still have about 40 miles of line to clear on this circuit and should have that work complete in September,” said Beam. “We are investing $1.2 million on this circuit alone to clear trees from power line rights-of-way.” Beam says while Appalachian Power can’t stop storms from bringing down trees, tree-related outages should drop significantly as a result of the work.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.

West Virginia Library Commission announces grants to public libraries

Posted: July 10, 2018 | Source: Clay County Free Press

The West Virginia Library Commission has presented $187,180 in state grants to 47 public libraries in the state.  The grants were awarded in June, based on facility, programming, and collections proposals from each library. The maximum award is $5,000 per library.

29 grants were awarded for facility maintenance, nine for collection development, nine for programming improvements, and 3 for other service enhancements.  Clay County Public Library was among those allotted funds, and received $5,000.

“These grants reflect the critical needs in West Virginia’s public libraries,” said Karen Goff, Executive Secretary of the WVLC. “They will allow libraries to improve their facilities, as well as enhance the programs and services they provide to state residents.”