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Eastern Panhandle briefs

January 15, 2009

Senate bill includes resource study for battlefield



WASHINGTON, D.C. - A resource study for the battlefield of the Battle of Shepherdstown was among the provisions of a bill that was passed Thursday in the U.S. Senate, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

The Omnibus Public Lands Bill includes a provision that would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a "special resource study" and determine the suitability and feasibility of including the battlefield and related sites as part of Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) National Historical Park or Antietam National Battlefield in Washington County, according to the release.

"West Virginia is home to many great landmarks that are a significant part of our nation's history," Byrd said. "This legislation is vital to protecting our precious public lands and landmarks for future generations."

The legislation seeks to designate more than 2 million acres of wilderness, more than 1,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers, thousands of miles of new national trails and three new units of the National Park Service. The legislation is headed to the House of Representatives for a vote.

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W.Va. lawmakers' committee assignments announced



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Newly elected state Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, was appointed to serve as vice chair of the Senate Government Organization Committee, according to the West Virginia Legislature Office of Reference & Information's executive director.

"I'm tickled to death with it," Snyder said of what he described as "a plum" appointment.

Snyder also will serve as vice chair of the Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee, among other committee assignments in the 34-member chamber.

Snyder's major committee assignment will be Judiciary, which his predecessor, John C. Yoder, had until stepping down to run for circuit judge last year.

State Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, Snyder's counterpart in the two-county 16th Senate District, retained his post as chair of the Senate Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and was appointed to serve as vice chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee.

State Sen. Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, of the 15th Senate District will continue to serve as Finance Committee chairman as well as a member of the powerful Rules Committee.

Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, Helmick's colleague in the nine-county district that includes Morgan County and part of Berkeley County, will serve on the Senate Education Committee with Unger and on the Judiciary Committee with Snyder.

Democrats hold a 26-8 majority in the West Virginia Senate.

Washington Heritage Trail Welcome Center to extend hours Tuesday



MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Washington Heritage Trail Welcome Center will have extended hours Tuesday to accommodate first-time MARC passengers who plan to use the commuter train's special Inauguration Day train service.

The welcome center at Caperton Station at 229 E. Martin St. will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Jim Castleman announced Wednesday.

The center's porch entrance faces the railroad track.

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