Morgantown named W.Va.’s only 2014 “Bicycle Friendly Community”

November 24, 2014 by Matt Murphy
A cyclist travels down Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston in July 2013. Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail file photo

A cyclist travels down Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston in July 2013. Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail file photo

Morgantown remains the only city in West Virginia named as one of the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Communities,  receiving a “bronze” award this year.

This is the third year Morgantown has been named to the list. The city received a bronze award in 2012 and in 2013. Other levels were platinum, gold and silver.

According to the League, a Bicycle Friendly Community “is one that welcomes cyclists with trails, bike lanes, share the road campaigns, organized rides, Bike to Work Day events and so much more. A rich matrix of options that recognizes your area’s unique resources, the BFC application evaluates how your community encourages people to bike for transportation and recreation through the five Es: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation.”

No other cities in West Virginia received an award or were on the League’s honorable mention list, meaning either none were selected or no others applied for the program (I’m waiting to hear back from Charleston’s planning department to see if the city applied for 2014).

In neighboring states, Virginia had three silver and five bronze awardees. Pennsylvania had one silver and four bronze recipients.

Ohio had eight cities with bronze awards, Maryland had five and Kentucky had two.

Only four of the 325 named cities had platinum status – Boulder and Fort Collins, Colo.; Davis, Calif.; and Portland, Ore.

As a state, West Virginia has been slowly but surely making itself more bike-friendly.

In May, the League ranked the state 44th of 50 states in terms of bicycle friendliness after it was ranked 50th in 2008 and 2011.

In June, West Virginia joined 23 other states with “three-feet laws,” which require drivers to give cyclists three feet of space when passing. The state is also supposed to be close to signing its first U.S. Bicycle Route in the Northern Panhandle.

To be eligible for a Bicycle Friendly Community award, municipalities must first apply for program. Cities must re-apply every year, and there is no cost.

Cities wanting to apply for the program next year must do so by Feb. 11, 2015.

See this year’s full list here.

The week in local government (Nov. 21)

November 21, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government this week, Nov. 17 -21:

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Monday

CHARLESTON – Council began to take action concerning the city’s $85 million retiree healthcare liability.

DUNBAR – City council discussed the possibility of a new ordinance to regulate cats.

ST. ALBANS – Council put the fire levy on the ballot for a special election in February. It failed earlier this month, the Daily Mail first reported.

Tuesday

KANAWHA SWA – The Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority voted to stop accepting glass at the Slack Street recycling center.

Thursday

COUNTY (Parks) – Parks officials began considering changing a nine-hole golf course at Shawnee Park into something else and also settled a civil lawsuit with the company that logged Coonskin Park.

CHARLESTON – Council’s Environment & Recycling Committee discussed the Slack Street recycling center. Earlier that day, the city said it would help clean up the mess.

SOUTH CHARLESTON – City council voted to take over a sewer system near Alum Creek.

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In other Kanawha County local government news, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones announced he intends to seek a record fourth term in office; a streetscape project in Dunbar should be finished by the end of the year; Chuck Miller was named the new Kanawha County prosecutor; and Charleston will help the Kanawha SWA in its Slack Street cleanup.

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

Monday, Nov. 24

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

Tuesday, Nov. 25

Noon – Kanawha County Commission.

Thursday, Nov. 27

Thanksgiving – government offices closed.

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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.

Bill Watch (Nov. 18)

November 19, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Action on bills in Charleston City Council for this update took place from Nov. 5 to Nov. 17, including council’s meeting on Nov. 17:

ORDINANCES

PASSED on second reading at city council, making the ordinance law

No. 7638 – Parking – Allows the city to immobilize cars for owners having five or more unpaid parking tickets OR if an aggregate amount of $250 in parking violations is owed. PASSED Streets & Traffic Committee on Nov. 12.

ACTION on previously introduced measures

None.

City Council

None.

City Council Committees

No. 7637 – Parking – Absorbs the Union Building parking lot on Kanawha Boulevard into the city parking system beginning Jan. 1, 2015. REFERRED on Nov. 12 to Parking Committee by Streets & Traffic Committee.

INTRODUCED bills on first reading.

No. 7639 – Sick Leave – Changes the sick leave policy for firefighters. REFERRED to Finance Committee.

No. 7640 – Sick Leave – Changes the sick leave policy for police department employees. REFERRED to Finance Committee.

No. 7641 – Sick Leave – Changes the sick leave policy for regular city employees. REFERRED to Finance Committee.

rental property license law to require licenses for properties being advertised as rentals and adjusts the license period from July to June to January to December. – See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141006/DM01/141009487/1296#sthash.fAeUpJug.dpuf

ACTIVE remaining bills.

No. 7598 – Cats – This updated ordinance would set up a process for property owners to have cats removed from their property by a humane officer and the cat’s owner would be fined. TABLED by Mayor Danny Jones on Oct. 30, 2014, after bring PASSED by the Ordinance & Rules Committee on Oct. 28. Last year, the bill was TABLED by council’s Ordinance & Rules Committee on Sept. 9, 2013. As written, this ordinance would place restrictions on cat ownership in city limits and other regulations on cats. Introduced by Councilman Cubert Smith. The Ordinance & Rules Committee voted to table the bill after public opposition, instead opting to look for other solutions to the city’s feral cat problem.

INACTIVE remaining bills.

None.

KILLED bills.

None.

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Bill Watch is a weekly series, published on Tuesdays, that provides updates on ordinances moving through Charleston city council and its committees. To see past posts, click the Bill Watch” topic link on the right of this page.

Kanawha County prosecutor interviews

November 17, 2014 by Brad McElhinny

Kanawha County commissioners are interviewing candidates for the unexpired Kanawha County prosecutor position.

Commissioners will interview five Republicans in today’s meeting. They include temporary prosecutor Chuck Miller, former assistant prosecutor Don Morris, state Attorney General lawyers Marty Wright and Chris Dodrill and Charleston attorney Mark Browning.

Follow along here:

Live Blog Kanawha Prosecutor interviews

The week in local government (Nov. 14)

November 14, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government this week, Nov. 10-14:

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Monday

COUNTY – The Kanawha County Commission appointed Chuck Miller to be temporary prosecutor until a new prosecutor is named.

Wednesday

CHARLESTON (CURA) – CURA officials said a Hilton Garden Inn is planned for the former Holley Hotel site in downtown Charleston.

CHARLESTON – Council’s Streets & Traffic Committee voted to recommend passage of a bill that would essentially crack down on drivers who have racked up excessive unpaid parking tickets and fines.

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In other Kanawha County local government news, the Human Rights Campaign ranked Charleston high among American cities for LGBT-inclusiveness (though there may be data issues with the report);  the owner of a popular restaurant hasn’t decided if he’ll rebuild; the mayor of Pratt was arrested on drug-related charges again; South Hills, South Charleston and Mink Shoals had the best voter turnout in the county (the East End and West Side were the worst);

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

Monday, Nov. 17

6:15 p.m. – Charleston Finance Committee.

7 p.m. – Charleston City Council.

7 p.m. – Dunbar City Council.

7 p.m. – Glasgow Town Council.

7 p.m. – Marmet Town Council.

7:30 p.m. – St. Albans City Council.

Tuesday, Nov. 18

8:30 a.m. – Upper Kanawha EDC.

10 a.m. – Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority.

1 p.m. – South Charleston Sanitary Board.

7 p.m. – Belle Town Council.

7 p.m. – East Bank Town Council.

7 p.m. – Nitro City Council.

Wednesday, Nov. 19

8:30 a.m. – Charleston CVB.

1 p.m. – South Charleston CVB.

Thursday, Nov. 20

8:30 a.m. – Kanawha Parks & Recreation Commission.

8:45 a.m. – KRT Board of Directors.

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.

Clarksburg URA announces plans to build hotel, conference center

November 13, 2014 by Matt Murphy

This afternoon, Clarksburg’s Urban Renewal Authority announced it is has issued a “request for proposals” for a hotel of about 160 rooms and conference center to be built in the city’s central business district. Read the press release below:

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“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Clarksburg Urban Renewal Authority Begins Request for Proposals For a new Hotel and Conference Center

CLARKSBURG, WV –November 12, 2014 — The Clarksburg Urban Renewal Authority (CURA) began advertising Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new Hotel and Conference Center on Wednesday, November 12, 2014.  The RFP allows for proposals to be submitted by developers until February 17, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.  Interested developers will also have an opportunity to schedule meetings/tours of Clarksburg the week of January 19, 2015.  The Redevelopment Plan was approved by the City of Clarksburg Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council. The “Plan” calls for a chain-affiliated hotel with approximately 160 rooms, as well as a conference center.  Anthony Secret, Chairman of CURA, stated, “CURA is very excited with the project and we look forward to discussing the project with interested developers.”   The RFP and Redevelopment Plan can be located on-line at  www.clarksburghotelandconferencecenter.com.   Anthony Secret, CURA Chairman, continued, “The RFP process will take approximately three (3) months to complete.  This will allow time for the interested developers to finalize their proposals.  The review process would then begin immediately by CURA”.

Martin Howe, City Manager, stated, “We believe that this economic development project will be a tremendous enhancement to our gateway into the Central Business District of the City of Clarksburg, as well as provide an amenity to nearby residents and the community.”

CURA anticipates this project to be a destination for leisure, business transient, regional/state association meetings as well as acting as the host hotel for events within the north central West Virginia Region.  Mayor Goings stated, “This is a redevelopment project that we, as a City, believe very strongly in and are very optimistic that interested developers will be inquiring about the project.”  City Manager, Martin Howe, concluded, “Our team has been working with our hospitality industry consultant, Pompan Hospitality Global, Inc. for approximately a year to get to this point, there has been a lot of time expended in market research and we are very pleased that we are making a significant move forward with this project.”

About Pompan Hospitality Global, Inc.

Pompan Hospitality Global, Inc. (“PHG”) is a one-stop hospitality consulting firm that supports the business objectives of hospitality asset owners, developers, and operators. PHG’s advisory services focus on helping clients Increase Sales, Increase Profitability, Increase Asset Value, and Increase Performance. In addition to advisory services, PHG Staffing places seasoned professional in short term leadership positions, “Total Meeting Experience” or TME Learning provide diverse training to all levels of hospitality providers, and TME Conferencing provide prospect and direct sales services.

For additional information about Pompan Hospitality Global, Inc. visit the website at: http://www.pompanhospitality.com/

About City of Clarksburg

The City of Clarksburg is located in north central West Virginia, Clarksburg (est. pop 17,000) and is the County Seat for Harrison County (est. pop 68,652). Clarksburg is located at the intersection of two heavily traveled highways and the second busiest interchanges in the state, Interstate 79 and U.S. Route 50. Clarksburg enjoys the amenities of the largest city in the region with the advantages of a small hometown community. A rich mix of retail, industry, and government services, with a thriving business community exist, along with an abundance of recreational facilities and one of the best preserved historic downtowns in the state.

Because of the population base the Clarksburg region became, and still is, the main commercial, health care, and professional office location in the region. It also has a large number of State and Federal Agencies located in the Central Business District, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, Federal Court House, Social Security Administration, Department of Defense Biometrics Facility, as well as Fairmont State University — Clarksburg Campus, among others.  A new $25 million State Office Building is presently being constructed within the Central Business District.

Clarksburg’s Historic downtown is also home to the largest legal, accounting, and banking community in north central West Virginia. There are approximately 6,000 professionals working in the Downtown Central Business District each weekday.

For additional information about the City of Clarksburg, visit the website at: cityofclarksburgwv.com or follow us on Facebook at City of Clarksburg, City Hall.”

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In Harrison County, the city of Bridgeport has a similar facility, the Bridgeport Conference Center, which is located adjacent to a Wingate by Wyndham hotel.

The Clarksburg proposal also comes as Charleston is beginning the process of renovating its Civic Center and Wheeling is considering upgrades to its Wesbanco Arena.

How did your precinct vote?

November 12, 2014 by Matt Murphy

A story in today’s Daily Mail looks at what precincts and municipalities had the highest voter turnout for the 2014 general election. Below is the precinct-by-precinct results for the election:

Download (PDF, 659KB)

 

And the official results for Kanawha County as a whole:

Download (PDF, 44KB)