1MORGANTOWN — Morgantown Municipal Airport’s long-awaited runway extension project is expected to begin next fall.

Officials of the West Virginia city announced the Federal Aviation Administration signed off on the extension earlier this month after five years of back-and-forth with the agency.

Officials say the project will add 1,001 feet (305 meters) to the runway to modernize the airport, help recruit new businesses and improve safety. The airport currently has the shortest runway in the state at 5,199 feet (1,584 meters).

The project will take at least five years to finish and will cost an estimated $50 million. A news release from Morganton officials say the bulk of the funding will come from the FAA and the rest will be paid for by the city and state.

West Virginians urged to watch for spotted lanternflies

2CHARLESTON — West Virginians are being told to be on the lookout for an invasive insect.

The state Department of Agriculture says in a news release that a small population of the spotted lanternfly was detected in the Eastern Panhandle community of Bunker Hill last month.

The insects are devastating to trees and crops such as grapes and hops. They lay eggs in the fall on surfaces including vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture and campers. That allows them to hitch a ride to new areas.

Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt says protecting the fruit orchards and wineries in the Eastern Panhandle is a concern.

The agency says landowners should inspect their property for lanternfly egg masses. The insect is native to China and likely arrived in North America on goods imported from Asia.

Elk tours draw

visitors from 8

other states

3CHARLESTON — A West Virginia wildlife official says a month-long series of fall tours to see elk drew visitors from eight other states.

Chief Logan State Park naturalist Lauren Cole said that 227 people went on the sold-out tours in September and October.

The elk were at the nearby Tomlin Wildlife Management Area and were imported from Kentucky and Arizona. They’re part of a Division of Natural Resources effort to restore the species to the state.

Cole says elk were seen on 19 of the 20 tours. She attributed the one tour where elk weren’t seen to a group of hunters who were pursuing raccoons with dogs.

Cole says visitors also saw deer, wild turkeys, rabbits and a black bear.

The tours also were offered last year.

Man gets home

detention for

abandoning Yorkie

in cooler bag

4FAIRMONT — A West Virginia man has been sentenced to one to five years’ home confinement for abandoning his Yorkie.

News outlets report 36-year-old Justin Ryan Lancianese was sentenced this month after pleading guilty this summer to a felony animal cruelty charge.

A criminal complaint says Lancianese trapped his dog named Jojo in a cooler bag that held a copy of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight’’ and a CVS card, and then tossed the bag near a power plant last year. Chester Bradley testified that his own dog was the one who discovered the dog now named Winston Johnson, who’s since been adopted.

Lancianese’s defense argued Lancianese was suffering mental and drug abuse issues at the time. Lancianese told the court that he’s ashamed and is now at a recovery house.

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