The week in local government (July 3)

July 2, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government for June 29 to July 3:

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Tuesday, June 30

COUNTY – Kanawha County commissioners learned the state is beginning the process to find a new meal vendor for county seniors.

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In other local government news, the mayor of Marmet is facing an ethics complaint; and officials in Kanawha County blasted West Virginia American Water over the management of its system.

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Here are government meetings and related events scheduled next week in Kanawha County:

Monday, July 6

5:30 p.m. – Charleston Parking Committee/Finance Committee

7 p.m. – Charleston City Council.

7 p.m. – Chesapeake Town Council.

7 p.m. – Dunbar City Council.

7:30 p.m. – St. Albans City Council.

Tuesday, July 7

1 p.m. – Charleston Municipal Beautification Commission.

6 p.m. – Cedar Grove Town Council.

7 p.m. – Nitro City Council.

Wednesday, July 8

9 a.m. – Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.

1 p.m. – South Charleston Museum Board.

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“The Week in Local Government” is a weekly post, published around lunchtime on Fridays, that recaps the Daily Mail’s local government coverage for the week. Past editions are available by clicking on the “The Week in Government” link on the right side of this page.

The week in local government (June 26)

June 29, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government for June 22 to June 26:

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Here are government meetings and related events scheduled next week in Kanawha County:

Tuesday, June 30

5 p.m. – Kanawha County Commission.

Thursday, July 2

7:30 p.m. – South Charleston City Council.

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“The Week in Local Government” is a weekly post, published around lunchtime on Fridays, that recaps the Daily Mail’s local government coverage for the week. Past editions are available by clicking on the “The Week in Government” link on the right side of this page.

W.Va. named one of the “laziest” states as Beckley tries to ban street basketball

June 25, 2015 by Matt Murphy

In the latest “best and worst” state list making its way around the Internet, West Virginia has been named the most “couch potatoey” (a.k.a. laziest) state by the Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

The authors used seven metrics, including exercise frequency, prevalence of fast food restaurants and number of La-Z-Boy purchases.

West Virginia topped the overall list, followed by Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas and Ohio, though in individual categories, West Virginia wasn’t always the worst.

The WaPo analysis was based on an original post by Ryan Nickum at the Estately blog. Nickum’s version ranked the Mountain State the third most “couch potatoey” after Ohio and Alabama.

Both analyses, though, show West Virginia as being the state that exercises the least and watches the most television of any other state.

You can read the Washington Post version here and the Estately version here.

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Chain_basketball_hoop

Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons license.

Each of these posts have come out in the last couple weeks, coincidentally at the same time Beckley’s common council (city council) is discussing an ordinance that would ban playing basketball in city streets, according to stories by the Register-Herald’s Wendy Holdren (who you ought to follow on Twitter for Beckley city council news).

The reason? People driving cars complained basketball players didn’t yield to them, or as Beckley’s city attorney said in May “the rights of drivers” weren’t being respected.

The attorney also called the basketball ban “a common sense ordinance.”

Then just this week, Beckley’s council approved the ordinance on first reading by a 5-2 vote, and a public hearing on the bill is scheduled for July 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Holdren’s story also pointed out that two other West Virginia cities ban games-in-streets – Charleston and Morgantown.

Sure enough, they do.

Charleston city law Sec. 102-17 covers “playing games in streets.” The law was passed in 1975. It reads:

“No person shall play the game of football, or any other game with a ball, in any of the streets in the city; nor shall it be lawful for any person to play the game of bandy, shindy, polo or any other game by which a ball, stone or other substance is struck or propelled by any stick, cane or other substance in any street in the city.”

(By the way, what is “bandy” and “shindy?”)

Morgantown has a similar law in its code, Sec. 311.02:

   (a)    No person shall use the public streets, highways, alleys, thoroughfares, roads or avenues of the Municipality for the purpose of engaging in or playing any games or athletic activities, including but not limited to, such activities as playing catch, baseball, football, skating, sledding and/or any activity related to the same.

   (b)    Any violation of subsection (a) hereof is hereby declared to be a public nuisance per se and may be summarily abated by any law enforcement officer.

I’m not sure if either law is enforced – I’ve seen WVU students playing catch on streets in Morgantown and I’ve seen plenty of kids out having a good time on city streets in Charleston – but there surely may have been incidents I’m not aware of.

Back in Beckley, Holdren’s latest story in today’s Register-Herald examines fears residents have that a basketball ban would contribute to higher crime and  – take a guess – higher obesity rates.

So the question for Beckley – and really Charleston and Morgantown as well – should cities be encouraging or discouraging young people to go outside and play?

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On a better note, some of West Virginia’s cities are becoming bright spots in promoting physical health. Huntington continues to make it easier to bike and walk in the city, Charleston is promoting exercise and healthy activity (Power Walking 150 as an example) and Morgantown is West Virginia’s only bicycle-friendly community (as of 2014).

 

 

 

The week in local government (June 19)

June 19, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government for June 15 to June 19:

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Monday, June 15

CHARLESTON – Council approved spending $410,000 for city trash bags ($20,000 more than last year, $90,000 more than 2013). The new council was also sworn in, and Mayor Danny Jones said he wanted council to authorize a massive increase in street paving.

ST. ALBANS – Council approved a project to refurbish and upgrade the City Park trail.

DUNBAR – Dunbar’s building inspector told city council that the city’s new on-the-spot citation system is successful.

Tuesday, June 16

NITRO – Plans are in the works for improvements to Nitro City Park, council learned.

PUTNAM BZA – The hearing for a proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market lasts four hours and results in the board postponing a decision for a future meeting.

Thursday, June 18

KRT – KRT is preparing for the switch to a flat-fare system next month.

SOUTH CHARLESTON – City council is planning for the issuance of bonds for a new city fire station.

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In other local government news, Charleston is looking to the future of downtown parking; a three-judge panel will hear a petition to remove Danny Jones from office (filed by former mayor candidate Janet “JT” Thompson); Charleston is reducing the types of plastic accepted for curbside recycling; and the former Chelyan Elementary School will be up for auction next month.

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Here are government meetings and related events scheduled the next two weeks in Kanawha County:

Monday, June 22

5:30 p.m. – South Charleston Library Board.

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“The Week in Local Government” is a weekly post, published around lunchtime on Fridays, that recaps the Daily Mail’s local government coverage for the week. Past editions are available by clicking on the “The Week in Government” link on the right side of this page.

Read the petition to remove Danny Jones from office

June 15, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Today, a three-judge panel was named to hear a petition to remove Charleston Mayor Danny Jones from office.

The petition was filed by frequent mayor candidate Janet “JT” Thompson. Read the petition below:

Download (PDF, 713KB)

The ways to pay to park

June 15, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Next year, Charleston will “be free from the shackles” of its parking garage bonds, allowing the city parking system to be much more flexible when it comes to city-owned parking facilities.

Specifically, the city parking system will have about $1.1 million more to spend on its parking facilities, and options could include free parking at certain times or the conversion to “smart” meters, which can take credit cards.

Over the last few months as I travel, I’ve tried to snap a few photos of how different cities administer parking.

Here are a few:

Morgantown ParkingMorgantown

You may have heard from your local WVU student or from trips to Touchdown City that Morgantown has switched some of its hourly parking lots from meters to pay stations.

Instead of paying individual meters, drivers note the parking space number and pay at a kiosk that accepts both cash and cards.

The only problem I had with this system was trying to add time to my parking space. Either the meter wasn’t working or I was doing something wrong, but I ended up having to start an entirely new transaction, losing the time I had already paid for.

Parking was 75 cents per hour.

 

Indianapolis

Parking (1) Parking (7)

Parts of Indianapolis use these on-street multi-space meters. Drivers take note of their parking space and pay at the nearest machine. The addition of the bike parking on some of the posts was a nice touch, I thought.

I didn’t park in these spaces, just observed, so I didn’t pay attention to the cost of parking.

 

Washington, D.C.

Parking (4)When I’ve parked on the street in our nation’s capital, I’ve seen both the multi-space meters and these digital meter heads that accept cards at individual meters.

In my opinion, these were much easier to use than the multi-space meters.

Parking cost was $2/hour since I was in a high-demand area. DC DOT’s website says parking in lower-demand areas is $0.75/hour.

 

 

 

 

Elkins

Parking (2)

Last fall, I stopped in downtown Elkins for dinner on the way to a story in Grant County.

Apparently, Elkins nixed its meters some time ago in favor of free two-hour parking downtown.

Follow along: South Charleston Council candidates

May 28, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

The Charleston Daily Mail’s editorial board is meeting at noon May 28 with candidates for South Charleston City Council.
Early voting has already started, and Election Day is June 6.
Our meeting, meant to discuss the issues facing South Charleston, is at BridgeValley Community and Technical College at the old Tech Park in South Charleston.
Follow along if you’d like to know more about the candidates: