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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Democrat Monongalia County Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer and Republican Delegate Jordan Hill and Chair of the House Health and Human Resources Committee from Nicholas County held press conference to announce support for a law that caps costs for life-saving insulin to $25 for a 30-day supply, regardless of the amount or type of insulin prescribed, to protect patients from rising insulin costs.
The Monday news conference included people sharing their personal stories about how the high cost of insulin and increasing co-payments required to get the drug.
“It varies depends on what kind of insurance you have,”Fleischauer said,”But, these people pay hundreds per month and we want to put a cap on that, they have a cap in Colorado, they have a cap Illinois and we want to be the third state to do that.”
Jamie Salai is a Morgantown resident and has a boyfriend with Type I diabetes and attended the event.
“I knew they were high, but I wasn’t sure how high they were,”Salai said,”And hearing all these stories about how high they are, something has to be done.”
“One gentleman we talked to from Greenbrier County, his co-pay when he was 41 was $78, now it’s $647 per month,”Fleischauer said,”And that’s not his premium. who knows what his premium is.”
Fleischauer says adding up the cost of test strips, pumps, needles and drugs it’s very expensive to be a diabetic and this is way to relieve some of that burden on people.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Work has resumed on the 30-inch raw water pipeline in the White Park area. MUB director of communications, Chris Dale says the work is being conducted within the terms negotiated with the city of Morgantown.
“As agreed upon, an arborist is monitoring tree removal and Triad Engineering is providing a soil inspector to monitor contaminated soil removal,”Dale said,”In addition to that, the city has hired an inspector from Triad Engineering to monitor construction as well.”
Dale says clearing and timbering are expected to last through March of 2020.
“Pipe installation is expected to begin next week from the reservoir moving back to Mississippi Street,”Dale said,”That portion of the work is expected to take about two weeks.”
The pipe work will connect previously installed sections along Mississippi Street and near the Woodland Trail entrance.
Dale says crews hope to have the work near White Park completed by August of 2020.
When complete the pipeline and 370 million gallon Flegal Dam will be an alternate fresh water source for Morgantown and the surrounding area.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The current total of 107 vacant properties in the city of Morgantown are creating challenges for city workers, police and neighborhoods.
To meet the Morgantown City Code definition of vacant, the property must be empty for 90 days.
Director of Code Enforcement in Morgantown, Mike Stone they do their best to limit risks and keep neighborhoods safe.
“A lot of the vacant structures within walking distance of downtown, people that find out they are vacant and take up residence in these buildings,”Stone said,”I think that’s the biggest concern.”
Stone says they discover vacant properties from people in neighborhoods, regular code enforcement patrols and information developed by police. Stone says from that information they have found vacant properties that require extensive repairs, one extreme case includes a structure falling off of the foundation.
Property owners are expected to keep vacant properties secure or board them up, but Stone says it doesn’t always work that way.
Stone says when they receive a vacant property report they have police to clear the building to remove people that are allegedly squatting. Once the building is unoccupied they sometimes have to board the property up themselves.
“We went over within 15 minutes of getting the call the building was cleared and started boarding a structure back up,”Stone said,”As my guys were putting the last screw in the plywood they heard someone inside yelling, let me outta here, let me outta here.”
Stone laments, it’s a continuing problem.
“We have boarded up several ourselves, my guys will go out and find one that’s vacant with vagrants in it, the police will clear the building and we take over plywood, screw guns and screws to secure the building,”Stone said,”But, tomorrow we get a complaint that the building is open and occupied again.”
Stone says the problem quickly becomes a health safety issue for workers in the code enforcement division.
“The needle problem is a big problem, a very big problem,”Stone said,”Some of these places they take squatters rights and they have no utilities, so they build a little fire to keep warm and there’s another hazard.”
Stone was adamant in asserting most landlords are good people that follow the rules and provide safe housing for residents and students. However, some property owners use the appeal process and other loopholes to avoid or stall when work on properties is ordered because of safety concerns or code violations.
In 2019 the city was able to raze 18 vacant structures.
MONONGALIA COUNTY, W.Va. – Current Democrat senator from District 13 has officially filed to challenge Republican incumbent West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Ken Leonhardt.
Beach says making the decision to run has been a work in progress.
“In the last few years I’ve seen some things I don’t like,”Beach said,”Last January, I had some farmers from Greenbrier County reach out to me and ask if I would consider a run for ag commissioner and it didn’t take a lot of arm bending to convince me this was the path I wanted to go.”
Beach says we need to do a better job of promoting West Virginia agriculture here and in other states.
“There’s a lack of promoting agriculture, both in and outside the state of West Virginia,”Beach said,”We consume about $7 billion worth of food her in the state, but we produce less than $2 billion worth of food, so we have room to grow.”
Beach says after learning the current department leadership travels more than any other state agency he would put a moratorium on travel for the first year. He wants to allocate that travel money to promoting West Virginia agriculture.
Beach says hemp policies that require farmers to destroy crops that test over the THC limit are unreasonable and should be debated.
“I don’t believe we need to destroy the entire plant, the THC is only in the top 10 to 12 inches where the flower is at and where the sample is taken,”Beach said,”If we give the farmers the chance to cut off the top, that’s the part that’s destroyed, the rest of that plant is the fibrous material we need for textiles and hemp concrete.”
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A report of five to six gunshots in the Smithtown Road area of Morgantown led to the arrest of Daniel Cruz,19, of Morgantown, Wednesday.
Monongalia County deputies began a foot patrol in the area of Luke Street when they saw a suspect identified as Cruz approaching them holding a rifle.
When deputies grabbed the rifle they noticed a bag of marijuana in his sweatshirt pocket. While processing Cruz police found a loaded 40 caliber pistol, 81.5 Xanax bars, two cell phones, oxycodone and more than $1,000 in cash.
The investigation determined Cruz was at his girlfriend’s apartment firing the guns outside where other residents live.
Cruz has been charged with wanton endangerment and possession with intent to deliver.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University and the City of Morgantown a ready to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Starting Monday morning, activities will be taking place across WVU’s campus and the City of Morgantown celebrating the life and legacy of the civil rights leader. The ceremonies will begin with the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast the WVU Mountainlair Ballroom starting at 8 a.m. During the breakfast will be the presentation of the MLK Achievement Award. Also speaking will be former WVU football player turned motivational speaker Eugene Napoleon who will serve as the keynote speaker.
“He is going to come in and speak to our students and to all of the community and we are very much looking forward to having him,” said Director of WVU Center for Black Culture and Research Marjorie Fuller about Napoleon speaking.
Following the breakfast, there will be several service projects that will be completed around WVU’s campus and the City of Morgantown. According to Fuller, volunteers will be participating throughout the day as projects of various kinds will be worked on to celebrate King’s legacy. This will include the participation of groups such as the Apallachain Prison Book Project at the WVU Center for Service and Christian Help where volunteers will be helping in day-to-day activities. Two of several projects that Fuller says adhere to King’s legacy of taking action head on.
“We like to remember our history and to celebrate our history every year, but also to encourage our young people to go on out there and realize that they are the change agents of today,” she said.
Along with the service projects taking place around Morgantown, there will also be several ceremonies that will be taking place celebrating King’s memory. In the morning, after the breakfast and during the several service projects, will be the West Virginia Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission Ecumenical Service taking place at the Asbury United Methodist Church. Then in the afternoon starting at 2 p.m., a ceremony unveiling the newly named Martin Luther King Jr. will take place between Court Street and Brawley Walkway which will be followed by a symbolic march to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on 304 Donnally Street where Vice President for WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Meshea L. Poore will speak about Dr. King’s message of acceptance regardless of who they are.
“We do believe in peaceful change, recognizing everyone’s humanity, and being out there and getting the word out, ” said Fuller. “About making sure that we respect everybody, everyone’s religion, everyone’s ethnicity,” she said.
Also taking place in Downtown Morgantown to celebrate will be a free for all program at the Metropolitan Theater starting at 2 p.m. The program includes performances by area choirs, readings of Martin Luther King’s essays and a reading by Jeremy Thomas of the children’s book The Youngest Marcher. These events, ceremonies and service projects taking place all across Morgantown, all are meant to not only encourage as many people to continue Dr. King’s legacy. but to pay tribute for all the hard work that has taken place to get there.
“We do want to make sure that everyone in the Morgantown community recognizes the fact that they are one hundred percent welcome to attend the Unity Breakfast or any of the other activities that are happening on campus, on this very special day,” said Fuller.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Following years of loosely regulated residential development, Mon County commissioners and county planner Andrew Gast-Bray are finalizing the rules.
Last year, residents from the Cheat Lake area brought a petition to commissioners asking for help to get the DOH to repair roads and establish drainage. Residents told commissioners that years of unregulated development have led to washouts, slides and damage to private property.
Those situation were aggravated by intense rainfall events in June of 2019.
Gast-Bray told commissioners that in addition to many comments and concerns from the public they have been working with the DOH, developers and members of the finance community to develop rules that work for residents.
Gast-Bray says because of the volume of comments and input the process has been extended from the scheduled March 1 roll out.
“Its probably going to be more like May 1,” Gast-Bray said,”Because you need to have thirty days for public review.”
Additional public meeting are planned for April of this year.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Bill Powell says Jeremy Matthew Cralton, 42, of Morgantown, has entered a guilty plea to one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a domestic violence crime.
Court documents indicate Cralton admitted to owning an AR-15 in March of 2019 while previously convicted for a domestic violence crime.
Cralton could receive a sentence of up to 10 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.
WASHINGTON D.C. – Pre-trial proceeding in the impeachment trial for the 45th President of the United States in the U.S. Senate officially gets underway today.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito was a guest on WAJR’s Talk of the Town and said the process begins with a series of formalities.
“At noon they will formally read the articles of impeachment to the Senate and then the Chief Justice gets sworn in, we get sworn in as jurors in the trial,”Capito said,”It’s a very solemn day on Capitol Hill and I take my responsibilities very seriously.”
Capito says the trial will hit full stride after the Martin Luther King holiday.
“Next Tuesday after Martin Luther King Day we will probably go into full session where we begin to hear the impeachment managers present the case,”Capito said,”Then we will hear the President’s lawyers present his defense.”
At that point, written questions will be submitted by senators through Chief Justice John Roberts to either the impeachment managers or defense lawyers.
Capito did address the issue of additional witnesses.
“I think that’s what we should do, and I haven’t heard both sides, then have questions, and I’m sure I’ll have questions,”Capito said,”Then decide whether we should move forward with additional witnesses.”
There is no timeline for completion of the litigation.