1HUNTINGTON — The new year is bringing a yearlong celebration after West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner announced the formation of a committee to plan events commemorating the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave U.S. women the right to vote.

Kat Williams is a professor of U.S. women’s history at Marshall University who is helping with the planning.

“There will be marches; there will be speeches; and there will be a number of different, exciting events,’’ she told news sources.

One of the committee’s main goals is to raise awareness of the milestone and its importance, she said.

“A lot of people don’t know that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, and they have a lot of misconceptions about it,’’ Williams said. “Women fought for 72 years to gain the right to vote. The women’s suffrage movement started in 1848, so this was a really long fight. This is a significant piece of legislation that we’re celebrating.’’

Williams is teaching a special class in the spring 2020 semester that will discuss the history of U.S. women since the passage of the amendment.

“What we’ve done in that 100 years since women gained the right to vote has been remarkable,’’ Williams said.

Helen Gibbins, president of the League of Women Voters of the Huntington Area, said her group is helping to plan both local and statewide events. They include a parade on Women’s Equality Day in August, which will begin on Marshall’s campus. A “Right to Vote’’ Reader’s Theater that the League has performed in years prior will have a special focus on women’s suffrage in 2020, Gibbons said.

A complete list of events statewide will be released by the Secretary of State’s Office at the start of the new year.

“It’s important that people know about it, and it’s important that kids are learning about it in school. It’s like a free history lesson,’’ Williams said of the commemoration. ``We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of women in this country having full citizenship rights, and it doesn’t get much larger than that.’’

Marshall’s marching band to perform in London parade

2HUNTINGTON — London’s New Year’s Day Parade is set to feature a little touch of West Virginia.

Marshall University’s marching band is heading across the pond to perform in London’s parade ringing in 2020, the school said Friday.

More than 100 members of the Marching Thunder band will take part in the parade and will then spend several days in England for educational tours and sightseeing.

The group was selected after a global search of marching bands, according to a news release from the college.

Adam Dalton, director of bands in Marshall’s School of Music, said the performance is a “once in a lifetime opportunity’’ for the students.

Man charged with threatening schools works as school cook

3CHARLESTON — A West Virginia man charged with making terroristic threats against two Kanawha County schools works in one the school’s kitchens, officials said Friday.

Thomas Bass, 22, is accused of calling the county school’s tip line 14 times last week, warning that someone was going to “shoot up’’ South Charleston Middle School and Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School, according to a criminal complaint. He also mentioned a bomb in one of the calls.

Kanawha County Schools spokeswoman Briana Warner said Bass is currently employed as a cook at the South Charleston Middle School. She said the county doesn’t comment on personnel matters but said “there is a policy and process in place for employees who are charged criminally’’ in response to a question about Bass’ employment status.

State records show Bass was booked at the South Central Regional Jail on Tuesday on a $50,000 bond. His court-appointed attorney declined to comment.


Woman charged

after several dead dogs found in house

4MONONGAH — A West Virginia woman has been charged with animal cruelty after several dead dogs were found in her home, authorities said.

Marion County sheriff’s deputies found the animals during a search of 36-year-old Melissa Jones’ home in Monongah last week, news outlets reported.

The deputies said the floor of the house was covered in trash and feces, according to a criminal complaint.

Officials found at least seven dead dogs throughout the woman’s home. Four dogs were found alive, though authorities said one was injured. Some of the animals had been tied to her furniture.

Records show Jones is currently being held at North Central Regional Jail on a $30,000 bond.

Retired city workers won’t have to return overpaid pensions

5HUNTINGTON — A West Virginia city isn’t going to force retired police officers and firefighters to return miscalculated and overpaid pension payments.

The Huntington City Council decided to keep the overpaid pensions where they are and correct any underfunded pensions, news sources reported. Those whose pensions were underpaid will also receive back pay.

“It’s not the fault of the retirees that a miscalculation was made to overpay their pension. It could be within our legal rights for us just to say, ‘pay us back,’ but that is just wrong, that is not right and that’s not the way we do business, “Mayor Steve Williams said.

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