By Bob Weaver

5000 WV JOBS "GOING SOUTH" - West Virginia has lost about 5000 manufacturing jobs in the past twelve months, according to state officials. Many of the jobs are in the Little Kanawha region. More jobs are expected to leave the area, a result of GATT and NAFTA, although some of the companies deny the connections.

Shott Glass, the former Libby-Owens plant, and the No. 1 Ames True Temper Plant, are expected to go. The feds, under both parties, have told the American people this will be good for us, a situation difficult to accept when you have just lost your job and none are available in a ten-county area.

SCHOOL RULES TIGHTEN - Slacking off the senior year is now history, with some new rules coming down from the West Virginia Board of Education. Schools must now schedule seniors for a full day of instruction, rather than allow them to leave early.

There are some sweeping changes in what classes students must take in order to enter college. Starting in 2008, seniors who plan to go to college will have to take additional math, science classes and two years of a foreign language.

The new school rules, like the "absolute 180 days of instruction" have been placed on the state's schools this year, after many county school systems went lax on attendance requirements.

LOAD 'EM UP OR DESTROY THE COAL INDUSTRY - The continued threat by West Virginia's coal industry of losing jobs is hovering over the special committee looking at legally allowing coal trucks to haul 120,000 or more pounds of coal per truck. The Wise administration starting ticketing the overweight trucks, after the Underwood administration said to ignore them. Currently, enforcement cannot look at the weight tickets of the sender or the receiver.

A number of southern West Virginians have been killed in overweight truck accidents in the past 18 months.

'YOU HAVE THE MORALS OF AN ALLEY CAT" - A Fairmont Times reporter showed up unexpectedly Thursday night at an illegal public meeting in the back room of the Pokey Dot Restaurant. The meeting included all members of the town council, excluding one, and the Mayor, who had a scheduled meeting with Congressman Alan Mollohan.

Several items were on the agenda to be discussed when Rep. Mollohan discovered a reporter was there, after which the reporter quoted Mollohan as saying "You have the morals of an alley cat." Mollohan then told the gathering, according to The Times, it was just a get-together to discuss general issues, although numerous topics pertaining to the future of the city were discussed.

The Freedom of Information Act and the open meetings laws are frequently violated in West Virginia, with impunity.

SOUTHERN FLOOD RAINFALL EXAGGERATED - A DEP study says the amount of rain falling on southern West Virginia creating the July 2001 flood, was exaggerated. Gov. Bob Wise and media reports said "up to 10 inches fell in Mullens and parts of southern West Virginia."

In the flood studied the most, officials said the highest rainfall was 5.32 inches at Mullens.

In 27 locations studied the average rainfall was just more than three inches.

The agency recently issued the study to some media outlets with some sections blacked-out. The conflict is over whether mountaintop removal and timber operations contributed to the flood, many claiming the floods are an "Act of God" to be expected in such mountainous terrain.

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