Amazon to collect 6 percent sales tax in W.Va.

CHARLESTON — Amazon will start collecting a 6 percent sales tax on purchases shipped to West Virginia starting next month.

The e-commerce giant will start applying the state sales tax on Oct. 1.

The Legislature this year signed off on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan to pursue more sales taxes from online retailers. The law requires out-of-state retailers to start applying West Virginia’s sales tax if they or a subsidiary have a physical presence in-state.

Amazon.com opened a customer service center in Huntington in 2011.

Several other states have pursued similar legislation as brick-and-mortar businesses complain of an unfair tax burden.

 

PARKERSBURG

Missing girl: Police are seeking the public’s help in finding a 16-year-old Parkesburg teenager who was reported missing on Sept. 10.

The Parkersburg Police Department and the Center for Search & Investigations said Megan Ellison was last seen at her home in Parkersburg.

Megan is described as 5-foot-4 and 115 pounds, with blond hair and blue eyes. Police say she has a serious medical condition.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call police detective Jay Corbitt at 304-424-8444.

 

CHARLESTON

Unclaimed property: State Treasurer John Perdue says his office’s latest unclaimed property advertisement triggered a strong response across West Virginia.

The ads ran statewide in newspapers from Aug. 27 to Sept. 12.

Officials say nearly 255 electronic claims were filed from Sept. 1 to Sept. 18. That’s compared with less than 320 that were filed from July 1 to Aug. 31.

Perdue says the numbers show how effective the ads are because people either see their name or tell a friend or neighbor that they have seen their name.

E-claims may be filed at wvtreasury.com.

 

College-ready? State lawmakers will hear a report that says only about 50 percent of West Virginia’s graduating high school seniors believe their high school educations fully prepared them for college.

The report will be presented by the chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission on Monday. It’s based on a 2012 survey of the state’s graduating high school seniors.

The survey is intended to give policymakers insight on why more students aren’t getting a college education. The state’s college matriculation rate is 62 percent, five percentage points below the national average.

Among other things, the survey says about 57 percent of students overestimated the cost of tuition at a public in-state, four-year college. The survey also notes that students say cost is an impediment to attending college.

 

WESTON

Man charged with killing mother, grandmother: A Weston man has been charged in the 1999 slayings of his mother and grandmother.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office says 39-year-old Joseph Metz was charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery. He denied involvement at his arraignment early Thursday in Lewis County Magistrate Court

Sixty-nine-year-old Marcus Maxine Stalnaker and her daughter, 46-year-old Mary Friend, disappeared Dec. 1, 1999, after leaving their Jane Lew home on a Christmas shopping trip. Their car was found five days later near the Harrison County community of Gore. The women were never found.

Authorities said Thursday they also are searching for a man named Steve Freeman in connection with the case. He’s believed to be in northwest Ohio.

Metz is being held without bond in the Central Regional Jail.

 

WHEELING

Ex-coach, gets prison: A former teacher and girls’ basketball coach from Marshall County has been sentenced to a 30-month prison term for her conviction on heroin distribution charges.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II said 27-year-old Amanda Allison of Cameron was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Wheeling. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Allison admitted she conspired to sell heroin between January and April of this year. She has been handed over to the U.S. Marshal Service until her assignment to a federal prison.

Allison is the former junior varsity girls’ basketball coach at Cameron High School.

 

Threat suspect can see dying dad: A West Virginia man accused of threatening President Barack Obama will be allowed to leave jail to visit his dying father.

U.S. Magistrate Judge James Seibert had ordered 21-year-old Ryan Kirker in June to be detained until his trial.

Kirker’s attorneys asked Seibert earlier this month to grant Kirker a temporary release from jail. They say in a court filing that Kirker’s father is terminally ill and likely has only months to live.

Seibert granted the request last week.

Kirker has been held at the Northern Regional Jail since he was arrested in May.

The McMechen man is charged with threatening to kill Obama and the first family in a letter that was sent to the White House.

 

ELKINS

National monument: Groups hoping to create a national monument in the Monongahela National Forest have submitted a formal proposal to preserve about 123,000 acres.

The Birthplace of Rivers National Monument in and around the Cranberry Wilderness would include the headwaters of the Cranberry, Williams, Cherry, Greenbrier, Gauley and Elk River rivers.

The coalition behind it posted its proposal online Wednesday.

Angie Rosser of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition says it would protect natural resources while fostering economic development and maintaining access for fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities.

Existing roads would stay open, but no new ones would be created. Existing leases and rights-of-way would be honored.

The proposal also calls for a flexible approach to spruce and spruce-hardwood restoration.

The U.S. Forest Service would continue to manage the land.

 

HUNTINGTON

Beautification competition: The city of Huntington has fallen short in its bid to win a national competition that focuses on beautification.

The America in Bloom competition held an awards ceremony Saturday night in Orlando, Fla. Holland, Mich., won first prize in the nonprofit group’s 30,000 to 50,000 population category.

Other cities entered in the category were Winter Garden, Fla.; and DeKalb, Ill.

The competition’s judges visited Huntington for two days in July. Six criteria were used: floral displays, landscaped areas, urban forestry, environmental efforts, heritage preservation and overall impression.

 

NATRIUM

Fire investigated: Authorities are investigating a fire at a natural gas processing plant near the West Virginia-Ohio border.

Dominion Transmission says the fire occurred around 1:30 a.m. Saturday at its Natrium Processing and Fractionation Facility along the Ohio River that went into service this summer.

The fire was confined to a small area of the plant and was allowed to burn itself out. No one was injured.

Route 2 in West Virginia near the plant was closed for about 8 hours. About 25 people from 11 homes were evacuated for about 90 minutes early Saturday.

Dominion is working to determine the cause of the fire and assessing the damage at the plant.

The plant is part of a joint venture between Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy II.

 

MORGANTOWN

Va.-born ex-secretary of defense creates WVU trust: The West Virginia University College of Law has received a $1.3 million gift from a trust established by Louis Arthur Johnson, a Virginia-born former secretary of defense.

The gift creates a scholarship fund in his name. Johnson established the trust in 1960 to benefit legal education. A representative said his legacy will live on in future graduates of the law school.

Johnson was born in Roanoke, Va., and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. He began his legal career in Clarksburg.

Johnson was also a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and was President Harry Truman’s secretary of defense in 1949 and 1950.

Johnson died in 1966.

 

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