Around the State

City’s smoking ban sparks complaints

BUCKHANNON — A new smoking ban in Buckhannon apparently is headed for some revisions.

Mayor Kenneth Davidson says he supports the ban on smoking in public parks and recreation areas, but the ban might be going too far by including electronic cigarettes.

Davidson also wants city police officers to ease up on the ban during the West Virginia Strawberry Festival.

Some residents have complained about attempts to snuff their smoking.

The smoking ban applies to public parks and recreational areas within the corporate limits of Buckhannon. It includes areas where events such as the Strawberry Festival occur.

Some residents and council members have said they support the ban. Some festival-goers complain that smoking has kept them away from the event in the past.



Suspended officer found dead: A Williamson police officer charged with DUI after crashing his cruiser in Kentucky and suspended without pay has been found dead.

Kentucky State Police had arrested 27-year-old Jefferson Taylor III of McCarr, Ky., April 30 in Hardy.

Taylor, who was off duty at the time of the crash, is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and leaving the scene of an accident. Troopers found him at his parents’ house after the crash.

Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel said that Taylor has been with the department nearly two years, and the charges come as shock.



Two tuberculosis cases confirmed: The Cabell-Huntington Health Department is making contact with more than 100 people as it investigates two confirmed cases of tuberculosis.

The agency issued a health advisory Friday regarding both cases, which were confirmed late last week in the Huntington area.

The department estimates the two infected patients might have exposed 150 people.

While federal privacy laws restrict the agency from releasing the patients’ identities and other specifics, officials say they’ll be making contact with anyone who had been exposed.

Agency spokeswoman Elizabeth Ayers says the additional tests were precautionary steps and should not cause widespread concern.



Convictions mount for distracted driving: In the first 10 months since a West Virginia law banned driving while texting or talking on a hand-held cell phone, 125 offenders have been convicted of doing just that.

The number of convictions was based on data from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

With 13 convictions, Beckley Municipal Court had the largest number of convictions. It was followed by Berkeley County, with 12. Kanawha County reported 10 convictions.

The Legislature passed Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s distracted-driving bill last year.

Drivers caught texting while behind the wheel face fines of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second violation and $300 for subsequent offenses.

Using a handheld cellphone to talk becomes a primary offense July 1.


Weather KOs motorcycle run for slain sheriff: Stiff winds and rain forced the cancellation of the Sheriff Eugene Crum Memorial Poker Run.

Organizers say they’ll reschedule the memorial ride, which was to occur Sunday.

The memorial on wheels was to pass through Williamson, where the Mingo County lawman was fatally shot on April 3 as he sat in his cruiser eating lunch.

The procession was also to pass through Crum’s hometown of Taylorville.

Organizers expected more than 200 motorcycles to participate in the memorial motorcycle ride.

The ride was part of a three-day Rally in the Valley motorcycle gathering that began Friday.



Seneca plans $1M psychiatric facility: Seneca Health Services Inc. plans to build a $1 million inpatient psychiatric treatment facility in Greenbrier County that will serve patients from six counties.

The 12-bed facility will be constructed near Seneca’s outpatient clinic in Maxwelton.

Vice president of clinical services Marcie Vaughan says that the facility will fill a need for inpatient psychiatric treatment in the region.

The state Bureau for Behavioral Health will fund the operational cost of six beds designated for detoxification. Seneca will fund six beds for crisis stabilization.

The facility will serve patients from Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Nicholas, Webster, Monroe and Summers counties.

Vaughan says the facility will create 20 to 25 jobs. It could begin accepting patients in the fall.



Scenic railroad celebrates 50 years in June: Fifty years to the day after the first tourist train made its way up Cheat Mountain, the Cass Scenic Railroad will make a special anniversary run.

On June 15, Shay No. 4 will haul 240 passengers to Whittaker Station.

Cass was a logging town that relied on the timber industry and mill operations to survive. But by 1960, that industry was tapped out.

A new forest and economy began to grow. On June 15, 1963, Shay No. 1 and Shay No. 4 chugged up the mountain at 10:03 a.m. with passengers in four converted flat cars.

Today, the full trip to Bald Knob takes about 4 1/2 hours. It’s the third-highest point in West Virginia at 4,700 feet.

Daily trips run from May 24 through October 27.


— Compiled by Robert Smith with information from the Associated Press


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