Former coal towns also may benefit from future fund - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Former coal towns also may benefit from future fund

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    Crews battle a house fire for several hours in Pax

    Crews battle a house fire for several hours in Pax

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:53 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:53:00 GMT
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    A house burnt for several hours last night in Pax before fire crews could put it out.Officials say nobody lived in the home that was located on Paint Street.The Pax Fire Department's assistant Chief, John Lovelace, said that arson looked to be the cause."Because nobody lives here and there's no way it could have been an electrical fire, so we think somebody set it," he said.Some Pax residents said that when houses catch on fire like this they are left worried for their own home."It crosses my...
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    Princeton State Police arrest suspect in Walmart parking lot theft

    Princeton State Police arrest suspect in Walmart parking lot theft

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    State troopers in Princeton said they've arrested a man in connection with a Walmart parking lot theft.
  • Boy Scouts team up with the American Chestnut Foundation to plant trees

    Boy Scouts team up with the American Chestnut Foundation to plant trees

    Boy Scouts team up with the American Chestnut Foundation to plant trees

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:20 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:20:34 GMT
    Today the American Chestnut Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America teamed up and planted numerous Chestnut trees.The trees were planted at the National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean.Over 40 scouts were there working very hard alongside friends and family membersBoy Scout officialssayss that this was a great way for scouts to put the ideals of scouting into practice."We've gathered scouts from 3 different counties, Raleigh ,Summers andLayettee.They can come up here and learn more about the Ches...
    Today the American Chestnut Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America teamed up and planted numerous Chestnut trees.The trees were planted at the National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean.Over 40 scouts were there working very hard alongside friends and family membersBoy Scout officialssayss that this was a great way for scouts to put the ideals of scouting into practice."We've gathered scouts from 3 different counties, Raleigh ,Summers andLayettee.They can come up here and learn more about the Ches...

The future of West Virginia prosperity may lie in gas extraction, but Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, says that the resource — and the towns — that helped fuel the Mountain State shouldn't be forgotten.

In fact, he proposes that a portion of Future Funds that come from severance taxes should be earmarked to help aid the former coal boom towns and communities.

"We do need to give a portion of the additional money back to the counties of origin that produce the gas, like we have done with the coal severance tax," Kessler said recently. "We could give them a little extra bump to help counties that produce it.

"But I'd like to give an additional percentage back to the counties of historical energy production. Just because we may have missed the boat in coal-producing counties in the past, we could give them an opportunity to lift themselves up by the bootstraps with this new energy resource to help diversify their economies."

Counties that stand to benefit the most from gas extraction in West Virginia are northern, which differs from the mostly southern coal counties. 

"It isn't like we are going to suck it up all to those counties that are making it up in the north and North Central West Virginia," Kessler said. "I want to see a portion of it go back to those who helped us do so much for the state.

"It's going to help all of West Virginia, every single county and every single person."

A bill to create a future fund is expected to be introduced again in the 2014 legislative session, but its adoption would need a constitutional amendment.

"We can set it up statutorily, the framework of it," Kessler said. "We will need some constitutional controls on how we spend it, so the legislatures, when they start seeing the monies come in, can't just grab it and spend it. 

"You have to dedicate it, as mandated by the voters," he added. "It can only be used for infrastructure, economic development, educational enhancement. … It is to improve the state's lot in the long term, rather than pet projects here or here. We must set up limited areas in which it can be spent. 

"It will help the entire economy to create wealth for the entire state."