WSAZ - Blogs - At the Capitol

Mar 1, 2012- W.Va. GOP Bets on Voters to Revoke Table Games at Mardi Gras

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

Also, we have more details about the deal with Century Aluminum in Jackson County.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Republicans say a Kanawha County casino no longer deserves its table games.

GOP Chairman Mike Stuart argued Thursday that Mardi Gras Casino and Resort has failed to invest $250 million as promised in exchange for these games.

Republicans are seeking signatures to petition for an election to revoke the games. They need at least 6,517.

State law allows for a recall. Five years have passed since county voters narrowly approved table games in 2007.

Stuart also faulted the casino for appealing its latest property tax bill.

A Mardi Gras spokeswoman did not immediately comment. Democrats slammed Thursday's announcement as a political ploy that threatens Kanawha County jobs and tax revenues.

Those attending Thursday's Capitol news conference included several Republican candidates for the House of Delegates in Kanawha County.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - State officials are blaming a burned out electrical coil for evacuating the West Virginia Capitol.

Government staffers working were told to evacuate the building about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. Charleston fire crews allowed workers to return to the limestone and marble statehouse about an hour later, according to Diane Holley-Brown, spokeswoman for the Department of Administration.

The burned out electrical coil in the basement west wing filled it with light smoke, setting off the building's fire alarm. Holley-Brown said the coil will be replaced and several lamps on the west lawn will not work in the meantime.

Two previous West Virginia capitols burned down in the 1920s - a grand Victorian building downtown and a temporary location used during construction of today's statehouse.

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I talked to Del. Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) about the deal with Century Alumnium to restore health benefits to the retirees.

He says the plan to get the plant up and running would likely involve legislative package including tax incentives. As he explained it, the incentives would be triggered if aluminum prices dropped to a certain level.

At that point, money would go to power companies to bring Century's electirc bills down. Rising utility costs were one of the key reasons cited in 2009 when the plant closed.

Carmichael says there's no plan currently to give the company tax incentives simply to open.

Here's the full press release from Century Aluminum about the deal with the retirees:

MONTEREY, CA, Feb 29, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Century Aluminum Company announced today that an agreement in principle has been reached regarding healthcare benefits with the retirees of Century Aluminum of West Virginia, Inc.'s Ravenswood, West Virginia smelter. The agreement remains subject to ratification by the retirees.

"We have been working diligently with the retirees and the union for a considerable period of time and are pleased to have reached an agreement," commented Century president and chief executive officer Michael Bless. "We would like to express our gratitude to Senator Rockefeller, Senator Manchin, Governor Tomblin and their staffs for their constant support during this process.

"We have worked long and hard with Karen Gorrell, the retiree committee and the Steelworkers and sincerely thank them in their efforts toward our common goal.

"Mayor Harbert, the citizens of Ravenswood and their elected representatives have also worked hard to help get us to this day. While encouraged by our progress and the cooperation and support we have received from all parties, we recognize that this is a first step and a great deal of work lies ahead. As we have previously stated, a plant restart is dependent on an enabling energy contract, a competitive labor agreement and a reasonable expectation that aluminum prices are sufficient to provide for profitable operations."

Century Aluminum Company owns primary aluminum capacity in the United States and Iceland. Century's corporate offices are located in Monterey, Calif. More information can be found at www.centuryaluminum.com .

Cautionary Statement This press release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of U.S. federal securities laws. The company has based its forward-looking statements on current expectations and projections about the future; however, these statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, any of which could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those expressed in its forward-looking statements, including whether or not the tentative agreement with the Ravenswood retirees will be finalized or ratified. More information about these risks, uncertainties and assumptions can be found in the risk factors and forward-looking statements cautionary language contained in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims, any obligation to revise any forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date such forward-looking statements are made.

Certified Advisors for the First North market of the OMX Nordic Exchange Iceland hf. for Global Depositary Receipts in Iceland:

Atli B. Gudmundsson, Senior Manager -- Corporate Finance, NBI hf.

Steingrimur Helgason, Director -- Corporate Finance, NBI hf.

 

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