Take sugary drinks out of schools, Legislature told

CHARLESTON – Health officials want the Legislature to eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks from the state’s public schools.

Helen Matheny, chairwoman of the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, cites the state’s high rankings for obesity and Type 2 diabetes in recommending the action last week.

West Virginia sought to limit soft drinks in schools with a law passed last decade. But Matheny says its wording has created a conflict with state Board of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture policies.

Matheny said the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition recommends the law’s repeal. It also wants public schools to require that a least half of every physical education class involve moderate to rigorous activity.

The coalition is also calling for schools to share their gym and exercise-related facilities more with their communities.

Early Christmas:

State workers will get an early start on their Christmas break.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says public employees will get a full day off on Monday, Dec. 24, meaning they’ll have a four-day holiday weekend.

State rules require public employees to have Monday afternoon off when Christmas occurs on a Tuesday.

Fewer bucks bagged:

Fewer bucks were taken during West Virginia’s two-week season this year.

Some 56,173 bucks were taken during the firearms season that ended Dec. 1, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The number is based on preliminary numbers from checking stations statewide.

Division director Frank Jezioro says that’s a 7 percent decline from the 2011 season. It’s also 7 percent below the previous five-year average.

The top 10 counties for the firearms buck season for 2012: Preston, Greenbrier, Randolph, Mason, Jackson, Hampshire, Monroe, Ritchie, Wetzel and Hardy.


Officer appealing:

The case of a former Wheeling Police officer is set to go before the West Virginia Supreme Court.

City Solicitor Rosemary Humway Warmuth said the city believes there were numerous errors made when Ohio County Judge James Mazzone ruled Kotson be placed back on administrative leave without pay.

He was arrested in November 2011 by West Virginia State Police. Days later, the city manager fired Kotson, but the city contends the termination had nothing to do with the charges.


In September, Kotson stood trial for first-degree sexual abuse, with a jury finding him not guilty on one count. A mistrial was declared for another count after jurors could not reach a verdict. In October, Judge Arthur Recht acquitted Kotson on that charge.

Next spring, Kotson is set to stand trial again in Ohio County, on charges including second-degree sexual assault, first-degree sexual abuse and burglary.



Rafting outfitter hailed:

Editors at Southern Living magazine have chosen a West Virginia rafting outfitter as one of its 12 unique “experience gifts” to give to friends or family members this year for Christmas.

The magazine’s December issue suggested that a whitewater rafting adventure with Adventures on the Gorge would be a perfect gift “that doesn’t fit under the tree” in its Travelers Best of the South section.

According to Adventures on the Gorge, the business is “perfect for adrenaline junkies who just don’t get the idea of lounging in a hammock.” The magazine highlighted that a gift trip to the resort could feature not just whitewater rafting, but also zipline canopy tours, hiking, fishing and horseback riding.


Aid for band:

After a robbery wiped out the Bluefield High Band Boosters’ savings this fall, it appeared the band wouldn’t be able to perform at Disney World next spring.

But a campaign launched by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph has raised $2,573 for the May trip. The boosters’ concession stand was robbed of about $1,000 worth of cash and concessions.


Hidden camera charge:

An Eastern Panhandle man has been arraigned on charges he set up a hidden camera in a high school to secretly videotape an underage girl changing clothes.

Brent Andrew Grubb, 43, of Inwood was arraigned Tuesday on one felony count of attempting to produce obscene matter. He was released on bond.

An arrest warrant says Grubb could be seen looking into the camera to ensure it pointed to a specific area of the dressing room. Footage shows a side profile of the girl changing outfits.

The incident occurred at a 2011 dance production at Martinsburg High School. Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny P. Arvon says an outside organization had rented the high school for the performance.

If convicted, Grubb faces up to three years in prison.

Shenandoah fails to sell:

Plans to sell a Martinsburg landmark have fallen short.

Maryland-based Gateway Holdings wanted at least $550,000 for the downtown Shenandoah Hotel – the amount owner Ben Fogle still owes the bank for investments he’s made in the property – but $185,000 was the highest offer.

The five-story hotel opened in 1926 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

– Compiled by Christine Miller Ford, with information from The Associated Press

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