Quick Takes

ELECTRIC CONTEST: Carroll Electric Cooperative Inc. is sponsoring a contest that gives high school sophomores and juniors the opportunity to compete for a free week-long trip to Washington, D.C.

The Washington, D.C., Rural Electric Youth Tour is an annual contest that electric cooperatives throughout the country sponsor to get students out of the classroom. It provides a firsthand look at the activities of the government in the nation’s capital. Nearly 1,500 high school students from small towns and rural areas across the United States will visit the nation’s capital June 12-19 as part of the youth tour.

Applicants must be a sophomore or junior in high school to compete. The student’s parents or legal guardian must be members of Carroll Electric, residing in a home receiving electric service from the company at the time of competition. Carroll Electric will sponsor two students to participate in the annual youth tour.

Applicants are required to participate in testing and an interview that will be conducted at the cooperative office, 350 Canton Road, N.W., Carrollton. Applications for youth tour must be submitted by Feb. 1, and are available from the cooperative office or download from www.cecpower.coop. Applicants will be contacted with an interview date and time following the Feb. 1 deadline.

For information, contact Yvonne Ackerman, marketing manager and member services, at (800) 232-7697.

MORE NOKIA: Just months after selling its ailing handsets unit to Microsoft, the Nokia has launched a tablet.

The new offering operates Android instead of the Windows software that Nokia adopted on its cellphones when it started a strategic partnership with Microsoft in 2011.

The 7.9-inch N1 tablet will first be available in China in the first quarter of 2015 with an approximate price tag of $250, before being introduced to other markets.

Sebastian Nystrom from Nokia’s technologies unit said Tuesday that the former global mobile phone leader was “pleased to bring the Nokia brand back into consumers’ hands.”

Nokia’s earnings have improved since its $7.2 billion sale of its handset unit to Microsoft. The slimmed-down company has three remaining operations: networks, mapping and software.

POLISH SHALE: A company official says that oil and gas firm San Leon Energy is extending its licenses to explore for shale gas in northern Poland.

Managing Director Pawel Chalupka told The Associated Press on Tuesday that results from its three vertical wells near the Baltic Sea coast encouraged the company to seek an extension to its licenses in the area. It expects to complete its license renewals next year.

The decision is good news for the shale gas sector in Poland, where, after an initial rush, major exploring companies pulled out citing difficult geological conditions and restrictive regulations.

Still, Poland remains Europe’s leader in shale gas exploration. A new law simplifying license procedures will take effect Jan.1, while a bill easing exploration taxes should be implemented in mid-2015, officials said.

QUICK TAKES

OFFICE CLOSED: The Harrison County Recorder’s Office will be closed Dec. 15-22, while remodeling and renovation work is done, Recorder Tracy Boyer has announced.

Staff will be available on a limited basis during that time to receive recordings. Documents will not be available and staff members will not be available to answer questions.

“The results of the updates will far outreach the inconvenience the closing will create,” Boyer said. “I appreciate the understanding of the public, researchers, attorneys and others and look forward to the future and for the opportunity to better serve you.”

The office will be open Dec. 23 during regular business hours.

AutoZone claim: A federal jury in San Diego has hit AutoZone with $185 million in punitive damages after finding that the company retaliated against a pregnant manager, eventually demoting and firing her.

A three-woman, five-man jury also awarded Rosario Juarez $872,000 in compensatory damages for lost wages and emotional stress.

It is believed to be one of the largest employment law verdicts for an individual in U.S. history.

AutoZone spokesman Ray Pohlman said in an e-mail that the company plans to appeal.

The lawsuit claimed that when Juarez became pregnant in 2005, her boss continually suggested she step down because she couldn’t handle the responsibilities of the job.

The auto-parts retailer operates about 4,000 stores across the U.S. and abroad.

Nordic Uber: Uber is expanding its app-based taxi and ridesharing services in the Nordic region, to include the cities of Helsinki, Oslo and Copenhagen.

The San Francisco-based company, which claims operations in 47 countries, launched its service in the capitals of Finland, Norway and Denmark on Wednesday. It is introducing a pilot of its app service that connects drivers of private cars for ride-sharing to a “restricted group of users.”

The company’s regional manager Jo Bertram said it had negotiated with authorities to act “within the transport legislation” of each country, after the successful launch of its services in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, last year.

The popular ridesharing service has faced opposition from taxi drivers and authorities in several cities worldwide. It was banned by a Berlin court in August.

WARMING LABELS: Climate-change warning labels are coming to gas pumps in Berkeley, Calif., a city with a long history of green and clean policies.

The Berkeley City Council voted to draft a proposal by next spring that will put stickers on gas pumps citywide to warn consumers that burning fuel contributes to global warming.

San Francisco is drafting a similar ordinance that the city’s Board of Supervisors could vote into law by March.

Supporters hope that simply putting the labels in front of consumers will motivate them to drive less.

But the Western States Petroleum Association, an oil-industry lobbying group, says the plan imposes onerous restrictions on businesses.

Implementing the labeling program could cost up to $20,000 the first year, and some argue the money could be better spent.

(Items for inclusion in Quick Takes may be sent via e-mail to newsroom@heraldstaronline.com or via mail to 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, OH 43952. Press releases also may be sent via fax to (740) 284-7355. Be sure to include daytime contact information in case there are any quesitons about the news item. Questions? Call (740) 283-4711 and ask for City Editor Jody Wisbith or Copy Editor Paul Giannamore.)

Quick Takes

SELECTED: Margaret Boyce, assistant professor of nursing at Mount Aloysius College, was selected as a volunteer author of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing licensure examination.

Boyce was approved by the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing and selected by national council of state boards to participate on the nursing licensure examination RN item development panel of subject matter experts held in Chicago.

She is the daughter of Eileen Boniey of Follansbee.

A registered nurse for 33 years, Boyce practiced critical care nursing early in her career. She recently shifted her professional focus to management and education.

She received a nursing diploma from Ohio Valley Hospital School of Nursing and received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from West Liberty University.

Boyce earned a master’s degree in nursing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in business administration from Frostburg State University.

She is pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice at Waynesburg University.

APPOINTED: Shawn Adkins, an assistant prosecuting attorney in Harrison County, has been appointed to the position of Special Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia.

The recent announcement was made by U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II and Harrison County, W.Va., Prosecuting Attorney Joseph F. Shaffer.

“We are thrilled to have Shawn Adkins designated as a federal prosecutor,” said Ihlenfeld. “He will primarily handle cases arising out of Harrison County, with an emphasis on drug trafficking and violent crimes. We are confident that he will leverage his significant criminal prosecution experience to strategically address crime and promote safety in Harrison County. This opportunity to collaborate with the Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is just one example of innovative efforts to coordinate and strengthen local and federal law enforcement efforts.”

Adkins graduated from Marshall University in 2008 with a bachelor of business administration degree. He earned a juris doctorate degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2011.

monsanto pays: Monsanto Co. said it will pay nearly $2.4 million to settle a dispute with farmers in the Pacific Northwest over genetically modified wheat.

No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming, but it was found in Oregon in 2013.

That discovery prompted Japan and South Korea to temporarily suspend some wheat orders, and the European Union called for more rigorous testing of U.S. shipments.

Agriculture Department officials said the modified wheat discovered in the Oregon field is the same strain as a genetically modified wheat that was designed to be herbicide-resistant and was tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved.

St. Louis-based Monsanto said that it is settling the case rather than pay for an extended legal battle.

The company will put roughly $2.1 million into a settlement fund to pay farmers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho who sold soft white wheat between May 30 and Nov. 30, 2013.

Monsanto will also pay a total of $250,000 to wheat growers’ associations, including the National Wheat Foundation, the Washington Association of Wheat Growers, the Oregon Wheat Growers’ League and the Idaho Grain Producers Association.

The report said the government still doesn’t know how the modified seeds got into the fields.

(Items for inclusion in Quick Takes may be sent via e-mail to newsroom@heraldstaronline.com or via mail to 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, OH 43952. Press releases also may be sent via fax to (740) 284-7355. Be sure to include daytime contact information in case there are any quesitons about the news item. Questions? Call (740) 283-4711 and ask for City Editor Jody Wisbith or Copy Editor Paul Giannamore.)

Quick Takes

NAMED: Dave Palmer of Wheeling has been named associate director for the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, George Smoulder, United Way executive director, has announced.

“Dave will be a valuable asset to the United Way, and his talents will enable the United Way to serve the wide variety of needs in our community,” Smoulder said.

Palmer, a Wheeling native, has been a volunteer, having served for three years on the board of directors, and as a member of the campaign cabinet. He has assisted with all special events.

“I have a great deal of community experience in Ohio County with the United Way, but I’m looking forward to expanding to others areas that the United Way serves. I’m looking forward to getting out and educating others about who the United Way is, and what the United Way does,” Palmer said.

Palmer has recently retired as a 30-year employee of the city of Wheeling.

“My entire career has been involved in community service. I first was a deputy with the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department. I moved on to the Wheeling Police Department for a short time, and then I spent 25 years with the Wheeling Fire Department when I retired,” he said.

Palmer was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 38, and served as president, among other offices, of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 12 and secretary-treasurer of Professional Fire Fighters of West Virginia.

Agencies supported by the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley include the Ohio River Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America, Brooke County Committee on Aging, which oversees the Brooke County Senior Center; Catholic Charities West Virginia and the Brooke and Hancock County Salvation Army.

UNITED EARNINGS UP: Earnings for Wheeling-based United Bankshares Inc., parent company of United Bank, are up $30.6 million for the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year.

For the period running from July 1-Sept. 30, United posted gains of $33.3 million, up from earnings of $22.2 million during the same quarter in 2013.

“We are pleased with our financial performance for the third quarter and first nine months of the year,” said Richard M. Adams, United’s chairman and CEO. Adams added that total assets for United Bankshares are now more than $12 billion.

On Jan. 31, United completed its acquisition of Virginia Commerce Bancorp Inc. of Arlington, Va. The results of operations of Virginia Commerce are included in the consolidated results of operations from the date of acquisition. As a result, comparisons for the third quarter and first nine months of 2014 to same periods in 2013 are affected by increased levels of average balances, income, and expense due to the acquisition.

BRANCH MANAGER: M. Kent Adkins has joined NOVA Engineering and Environmental LLC as waste management practice leader and will serve as branch manager of the firm’s new Columbus office.

He brings more than 27 years of experience in the field of hydrogeologic project management and technical consulting. His primary area of expertise is site selection, permitting, design, construction, operational support, environmental compliance and closure and post-closure of solid waste and coal combustion residual landfills.

Adkins earned his bachelor of science degree in geology at Marshall University.

He is a licensed professional geologist in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee and a member of the Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers, Ohio Oil & Gas Association, Ohio Geological Society, Kentucky Society of Professional Geologists and the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists.

Quick Takes

ADDITIONS: Howard Hanna Mortimer Realty in Weirton announces the addition of two licensed Realtors.

Tricia Howard lives in Weirton with her husband, John, and their three children. She graduated from Weir High in 1991 and is an active member of Christ United Methodist Church and the Weirton Elementary PTA.

“I chose to work with Howard Hanna because I saw the company signs everywhere. I was made welcome as soon as I walked into the office.”

Angela Bine resides in Weirton with her husband Jeff and three children. She has a bachelor of arts degree in elementary and special education from Edinboro University. She has worked with nonprofit organizations as well as adults and children with developmental disabilities. She is a member of the Weirton Elementary PTA and is a youth soccer coach for the Weirton Rotary Youth Soccer League.

“Choosing to work with Howard Hanna was an easy choice. I only wanted to be associated with the best and Howard Hanna is it. I am looking forward to a long, rewarding and successful career with Howard Hanna.”

Both Howard and Bine have graduated from the Spruce School of Real Estate and have passed the state examination for licensing. They are members of the Weirton Area Board of Realtors, the West Virginia Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors.

FREE TO VETS: Veterans and active military personnel have a hearty hotcakes breakfast coming their way – free on Veterans Day, thanks to Bob Evans Farms. All Bob Evans restaurants will serve free all-you-can-eat hotcakes to veterans and active duty military members who present a valid military ID on Nov. 11.

Company founder Bob Evans was a veteran, having served in the Army during World War II in several posts. He was inducted into the Army in January 1945.

Guests wishing to enjoy the original hotcakes breakfast must provide proof of service. Eligible identification includes a U.S. Uniformed Services (current or retired) Identification Card, a current Leave and Earnings Statement or a veterans’ organization card. Guests wearing a military uniform on Veterans Day also are eligible.

THANK YOU VETS: Expanding upon its six-year Veterans Day tradition of providing free meals to current and former service members, this year Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar will look to provide everyday household items like washers and dryers and medical equipment to veterans or active duty military and their families in need.

Applebee’s Thank You Movement partners with the community this year by asking friends, families and neighbors to submit stories at ThankYouMovement.com on behalf of veterans or active duty military and their families who need items that would help improve the lives of those who serve our country.

Since creating the Thank You Movement in 2011 to collect messages of appreciation for each of the 24 million current and former members of our Armed Forces, Applebee’s has received more than 6.7 million personal “Thank You” messages through the movement’s website: www.thankyoumovement.com.

Visitors to ThankYouMovement.com can thank a veteran by writing a personal Thank You message to be posted in real time on the website.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, veterans and active duty military can choose a dish from the free Thank You Meal menu.

Guests will need to provide proof of service.

The offer is valid for dine-in only.

(Items for inclusion in Quick Takes may be sent via e-mail to newsroom@heraldstaronline.com or via mail to 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, OH 43952. Press releases also may be sent via fax to (740) 284-7355. Be sure to include daytime contact information in case there are any quesitons about the news item. Questions? Call (740) 283-4711 and ask for City Editor Jody Wisbith or Copy Editor Paul Giannamore.)