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:

Huntington continues to get better for bikes

May 20, 2015 by Matt Murphy
Huntington Bike 2

Bike lanes along 4th Avenue in Huntington. Matt Murphy/Daily Mail

If you haven’t noticed, our neighbors on the west end of the Metro Valley are continuing to push for more infrastructure for bikes and while it’s no Portland or Boulder, it’s probably safe to say Huntington is already one of the leading cities for bikes in West Virginia.

In the last few weeks, the city added “sharrows” on a portion of 10th Street between 11th Avenue and Harris Park. While a small and simple step, the sharrows create a designated north-south bike route through the center of the city past the Amtrak station and Pullman Square to connect Ritter Park and Harris Park.

Huntington also has the well-known and growing Paul Ambrose Trail for Health (PATH) and a separated bike lane on 4th Avenue downtown (a sparse sight in the state). It’s also erected signs informing drivers of West Virginia’s “three-foot law” for passing bikes.

The River City has non-infrastructure bike resources, too, including a regular “critical mass” ride and other groups (see this page on the “Try This WV” website).

There’s been investment by private business as well. Huntington Cycle & Sport recently installed one of, if not the first, public “Cycle Aid Station” in the region in front of the business’ 10th Street shop.

Huntington has posted signs informing driver of the state 'three-foot law.'

Huntington has posted signs informing driver of the state ‘three-foot law.’ Matt Murphy/Daily Mail

A privately-operated bike share program has also been trying to get off the ground, though with little success so far.

Despite all the two-wheeled momentum in Huntington, the city wasn’t listed in the League of American Bicyclist’s “bicycle friendly communities” list for 2014, though the city may not have applied for an award (Morgantown was West Virginia’s only ranked city last year).

I’ve put in a message to Huntington’s spokesman to see if the city plans to apply for a “bicycle-friendly community” award this year.

Meanwhile, Charleston is working toward developing a master bike plan and an early draft of recommendations was presented last week.

The Capital City is also planning to construct the Kanawha Boulevard bike lanes this year, though the city had initially said the lanes would be finished in 2014.

Watch Appalachian Power’s farewell video for the Kanawha River Plant

May 18, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Last Friday, Appalachian Power held a gathering for current and former employees of its Kanawha River Plant, which is set to close by the end of the month. You can read the story here.

Below is a video produced by Phil Moye, a spokesman for Appalachian Power. The video was shown at the employee reunion:


Related stories:

Sept. 29, 2014 – Kanawha River Plant closure will mark the end of an era.

Sept. 30, 2014 – With power plan closure, Glasgow tax revenue to drop.


Follow along: Charleston election 2015

May 16, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Local government reporter Matt Murphy will be providing coverage of Charleston’s municipal election. Follow along below:

Live Blog Charleston Election

Crime and vacant structures in Charleston

April 26, 2015 by joelebert

To go along with Tyler Bell’s story on vacancies published in Monday’s paper, the Daily Mail requested a list of recent crimes in Charleston, in addition to vacant structures.

The city provided us with a list of all vacant structures issued permits between October 1, 2014 and April 22, 2015.

Metro 911 of Kanawha County provided us with a list of crimes in Charleston from January 1 until April 21.

The map below compiles both sets of data.

You can filter the results to see one particular kind of crime or just the vacant properties by using the dropdown menu, which you can find below the map. To view the original map, click the select option.

Here is a breakdown of the numbers:
Assault – 122
Assault with injuries – 53
Breaking and entering – 62
Burglary – 247
Carjacking – 1
Drug activity – 141
Meth lab investigation – 6
Robbery – 29
Shooting – 5
Stabbing – 9
Vacant structure – 409

And here is a breakdown of the number of vacant structures by ward.

Read the settlement agreement in the Hurricane landfill MCHM case

April 14, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Tuesday, the Putnam County Commission approved a settlement agreement between fellow plaintiff the city of Hurricane and defendants DSI and Waste Management in a lawsuit filed last year concerning MCHM being deposited in a landfill operated by the defendants.

Read the story here and the settlement below:



The week in local government (April 3 & 10)

April 10, 2015 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government for March 30 to April 10:

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Monday, April 6

CHARLESTON – City council approved consulting services for streetscape improvements along MacCorkle Avenue.

DUNBAR – City council passed a nuisance property ordinance.

ST. ALBANS – City council bid farewell to the city’s fire department chief.

Tuesday, April 7

NITRO – Construction of a new home sparked a zoning discussion at city council.

Wednesday, April 8

AIRPORT – Yeager Airport officials say they are frustrated by a lack of progress of insurance companies for slide-related claims.

Thursday, April 9

COUNTY (Commission) – Kanawha County will join Yeager Airport in any legal action taken on slide-related claims against insurance companies.

- – -
In other local government news, read about how a local contractor was able to dig a new channel for Elk Two Mile Creek; a former Charleston mayoral candidate files an election complaint; some Charleston council candidates are facing fines over missing campaign finance forms; Marmet’s mayor is suing the town council; Montgomery’s water plant will close by the end of the year; Mayor Danny Jones has 148 times as much money as Paul Monroe for the mayoral election; a design for the Charleston Civic Center may be selected by May; Charleston won a grant for a splash pad at Magic Island; Charleston’s inaugural beer festival is set for Saturday; Charleston leaders are planning for Top-O-Rock’s future; and WVU Tech officials said at a meeting in Montgomery a freshman class will be enrolled in 2016.

- – -

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

Monday, April 13

5 p.m. – Charleston Land Trust.

Tuesday, April 14

7 p.m. – Handley Town Council.

7:15 p.m. – Pratt Town Council.

7:30 p.m. – Montgomery City Council.

Wednesday, April 15

8:30 a.m. – Charleston CVB.

9 a.m. – Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.

1 p.m. – South Charleston CVB.

Thursday, April 16

8:30 a.m. – Kanawha Parks Commission.

8:45 a.m. – KRT board.

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

Monday, April 20

6:30 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, April 23

10 a.m. – Kanawha SWA.

1 p.m. – South Charleston Sanitary Board.

5 p.m. – Kanawha County Commission.

7 p.m. – Belle Town Council.

7 p.m. – East Bank Town Council.

7 p.m. – Nitro 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.