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Photo: BUSINESS BEAT: Taco Bell at Kinetic Park awards scholarship

Taco Bell team member Charles Jacob Wood was awarded a $10,000 scholarship by the company. He is a student at Marshall University.

HUNTINGTON — Charles Jacob Wood, a graphic design student at Marshall University, has been chosen as the winner of a $10,000 Live Mas scholarship from the Taco Bell Foundation.

The award was announced by Sun Culinary, owner of several Taco Bell locations in the area. Wood is a Taco Bell team member in this area.

Officials said during a ceremony last week that Wood is one of 155 team members nationwide to receive part of $1 million awarded this year.

The ceremony also included the unveiling of a new mascot at Taco Bell’s KineticPark location — a life-sized American bison named Justice.

The bison was named for John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the United States and for whom Marshall University is named, company officials said.

Justice will be a tribute to the past, present and future of Huntington, officials said during a ceremony that also included another bison mascot named Thunder, located at the Taco Bell Kenova location.

GOLDEN CORRAL: Golden Corral has closed all 35 company-operated restaurants and furloughed 2,290 employees because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The franchisor said “some” of the buffet chain’s 454 franchised stores remain in operation, offering takeout and delivery, while several others have temporarily canceled operations, including the Golden Corral near Huntington. It remains unclear if any West Virginia locations are affected by the closures.

Employees were informed of the move in a virtual town hall-style meeting with corporate officers.

“It is truly an emotional and challenging time for our country,” Golden Corral CEO Lance Trenary said during the meeting. “The realities of the current situation have forced us to make difficult decisions.”

Golden Corral said it will provide food for the furloughed employees to feed their families and will assist them in seeking unemployment benefits.

JCPENNEY: J.C. Penney is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection soon, according to a report by Reuters.

The report says the company, which is based in Plano, Texas, will permanently close about one-fourth of its 850 stores in the United States, which equals about 212 stores.

J.C. Penney has been operating for 118 years, but it had struggled with a nearly $4 billion debt even before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Reuters.

The company employs nearly 85,000 people across its stores. It announced in March that it would furlough most of their store employees because of COVID-19.

Reuters reported J.C. Penney is in talks with creditors for “a so-called debtor-in-possession loan to bolster its finances while it navigates bankruptcy proceedings.”

J.C. Penney declined to respond to the report.

HUNTINGTON CHAMBER: Given the recent rescheduling of many local events in the area due to the coronavirus, the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce has rescheduled its annual dinner to Thursday, June 18.

OVB: Ohio Valley Bank is now waiving the early closeout fee on its Christmas savings accounts should any account holders need that money during the current health crisis, the bank said in a release.

Those interested in withdrawing these funds early should contact their nearest branch for details.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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