State accepting school clothing voucher applications
1CHARLESTON — West Virginia will start taking applications for school clothing vouchers next week.
The program administered by the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Division of Family Assistance helped more than 98,000 children enrolled in West Virginia schools last year.
Each child whose family meets income guidelines will receive a $200 voucher for use toward the purchase of school clothing or materials to make clothes. The monthly income for a family of four may not exceed $2,146.
Applications were sent in June to families who obtained vouchers last year and currently receive Medicaid or food stamps. The application deadline is July 31.
Families with school-aged children receiving WV Works cash assistance will automatically receive allowance vouchers by mid-July. Children in foster care will be issued a check.
facility in formal
2FAIRMONT — NASA is holding a formal ceremony to rename a West Virginia facility after a mathematician whose calculations helped astronauts return to Earth.
The ceremony was held Tuesday, July 2, in Fairmont for the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility.
Congress passed a bill allowing the name change and President Donald Trump signed it into law on Dec. 11.
In June, George Mason University named a building on its Manassas, Virginia, campus in Johnson’s honor. Johnson, who is now 100, worked at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton as a human “computer.’’
She was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the film “Hidden Figures,’’ which documented the contributions of her and two other African-American women while overcoming racism and sexism.
Last year, Johnson was honored by alma mater West Virginia State University with a bronze statue and scholarship dedication.
Man charged as
15-foot pet python remains at large
3MORGANTOWN — A West Virginia man is facing criminal charges after his 15-foot python escaped into a wooded area and has been missing for about a month.
Police in Morgantown announced that 19-year-old Shane Stevens has been arrested and charged with allowing an animal to run at large.
Authorities say Stevens was transporting his pet snake in a truck on May 30 when it broke out of its enclosure and slithered into the woods outside Morgantown. A criminal complaint says that Stevens told officers the snake is dangerous.
A search party that included a drone aircraft couldn’t find the python and officials have since called off the hunt. Police say it was last seen on a hillside near Listravia Avenue.
A court clerk says Stevens doesn’t yet have an attorney.
Medical cannabis program not ready to roll out
4MORGANTOWN — West Virginia patients and caregivers waiting for the state’s medical cannabis program to officially start in July shouldn’t expect their program cards or physicians certificates anytime soon.
The state has had little time to prepare since the enabling legislation only passed in March and May, according to news sources.
One bill addressed a banking issue, since cannabis money is still federally illegal. The other will allow growers, processers and dispensaries to profit as singular companies.
Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Allison Adler says it will take two to three years before patients can procure medical cannabis.
Meanwhile, terminally ill cancer patients can get medical cannabis through reciprocity agreements with other states. Other patients will have to wait.
operations up for sale
5CHARLESTON — Court filings show a West Virginia resort’s owners plan to sell its ski operations.
A petition filed this week in federal bankruptcy court shows Timberline Four Seasons Resort Management Co. Inc. is seeking approval to sell snowmaking towers and other equipment it owns back to its manufacturer, according to news sources.
Timberline bankruptcy attorney David Siedman says in the filing the equipment isn’t needed because the ski resort operations are up for sale. Siedman says the owners believe “a new buyer will install new equipment.’’
The state Public Service Commission placed the resort’s water and sewer system in receivership in March. The Canaan Valley Public Service District now operates the system.
Timberline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April, listing assets of $1.19 million and more than $2.8 million in debt to nearly 50 creditors.
Kanawha to seek funding to expand ATV trails
6CHARLESTON — Kanawha officials plan to seek funding to support more trails for all-terrain vehicles.
The Kanawha County Commission will seek $4 million from the Abandoned Mine Lands fund to go toward a new section of the Hatfield-McCoy trail including a trailhead parking area and check-in facility.
If built, the new trail would be in eastern Kanawha County and north of other trails in the Hatfield-McCoy system. Although the site wasn’t specified at last week’s commission meeting, an 80- to 100- mile system was envisioned during a presentation to the commission two years ago by Hatfield-McCoy officials.
The deadline for applying for funds is Monday. Commission President Kent Carper said he expects to hear within two months whether the funds are approved.
NWS confirms rare tornado
7CHARLESTON — The National Weather Service says storm-related damage indicates that a rare tornado touched down in West Virginia.
The weather service tweeted that a tornado hit the Alum Creek area last week along U.S. Route 119 southwest of Charleston. A survey team is examining damage in other areas in Kanawha County, where large trees toppled onto homes and roads.
The agency said the preliminary strength is EF1 with wind speeds up to 90 mph (145 kph).
With its vast network of hills and mountains, West Virginia averages two tornadoes a year.