Saturday, December 31, 2011

Food Tax Set To Drop

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...West Virginia has had a 3 percent food tax since 2008. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin worked with the Legislature to pass two separate bills this year to cut the tax, which currently brings in more than $75 million in general revenue each year. The rate  falls to 2 percent beginning January 1st. A bill signed into law in March established 1-percent cut, while a bill passed in August eliminates the tax by 2013.

Elderly Kenova Man Robbed

  • {Kenova, West Virginia}...The Wayne County Sheriffs department says Justin McCloud and Cody Donald entered the home of 72 year old Danny Webb in Kenova and stole two rifles valued at over a thousand dollars. Webb was robbed four times in the past couple of months, and police think at least one of the accused men had something to do with those robberies.  McCloud and Donald are each charged with daytime burglary and grand larceny.

Rape Charges Dropped For Charleston Man

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Charges against 34 year old Trenton Walker of Charleston have been dropped. Walker had been charged with 1st degree sexual assault after a woman said she was attacked at the Lee Terrace Apartments in Charleston Thursday. The victim told police she and two friends had been drinking with Walker in his apartment when he choked and raped her, threatened to beat her with brass knuckles and kill her if she went to police. Detectives say there were visible marks on both sides of her throat.

Man Charged With Grand Larceny

{Cedar Grove, West Virginia}...Cedar Grove Police arrested 18 year old Cody Lanham at an apartment on 4th Avenue in Montgomery around 11:30 P.M. Friday night after he allegedly committed several burglaries in Cedar Grove, Glasgow and other towns throughout Kanawha County. Police say Lanham broke into
several vehicles and stole thousands of dollars worth of items. Lanham is charged with grand larceny, entering without breaking, petite larceny and tampering with a vehicle.

Cabell Huntington Hospital Nears Project Goal

{Huntington, West Virginia}...The Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation is only $1 million short of its $12 million goal for its Children's Hospital project which will reconstruct its Pediatrics Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The project also involves the building of a new entrance designed for young patients. The Cabell Huntington Auxiliary recently presented its eighth $100,000 check after pledging $1 million to the project. The auxiliary has raised 80 percent of the 10-year commitment made in 2007.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bresch To Be Mylan, Inc. CEO

{Morgantown, West Virginia}...Sunday, January 1st, Heather Bresch, the daughter of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, will officially take over as Chief Executive Officer for generic drug maker Mylan, Inc. Bresch has been with the company since 1992.  Most recently, she served as the company's corporate president. Her promotion is one of several leadership changes that follow the October death of Mylan co-founder Mike Puskar.

Woman Could Face Death Penalty

{Mathias, West Virginia}...Federal prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Lori Ann Taylor Keller, a Virginia woman charged with killing a West Virginia family. Keller is charged with killing her ex-husband, 36 year old Dennis "Chip" Taylor in October 2009 in his home in Mathias, West Virginia. She also faces charges in the deaths of Taylor's wife, Allaina Taylor, and 5 year old daughter Kaylee Grace Whetzel. Taylor Keller's husband Nakia Keller is also charged in the killings. That trial is set for August 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Carter To Remain At West Virginia State

{Institute, West Virginia}...West Virginia State University President Hazo Carter will remain at the school for two years as President Emeritus after he retires. Carter announced his retirement in August, one week after a no-confidence vote by the university's faculty, after serving as president since 1987. His new responsibilities will include fundraising, while his salary remains at about $167,000 dollars. An advisory committee will be named in January to search for a new president.

Kanawha County Lawsuit Expensive

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Kanawha County officials are counting losses from a lawsuit filed by Sandra Shaffer of Sissonville. Even though the suit has been dropped, County commission president Kent Carper says fighting the suit has been expensive in many ways. Legal bills tallied as much as $18,000, and while Carper says that will be covered by insurance, the claim could count against the county in figuring future premiums. With the extra salary paid to deputies, Carper says the tab rises to about $30,000.

Holiday Inn Express Evacuated

{Teays Valley, West Virginia}...The Holiday Inn Express in Teays Valley was evacuated Thursday morning while firefighters searched for the source of a light, foul smelling smoke. Firefighters from Teays Valley and Hurricane located the problem in a heating unit or its control unit and shut it down. There were no injuries, the building was vented and guests were allowed back inside.

Winning MegaMillions Sold In Morgantown

{Charleston, West Virginia}...West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave announced Thursday that a MegaMillions ticket worth $1 million from Tuesday night's drawing was sold at the Bells 119 Grocery on Grafton Road in Morgantown. The player bought the Megaplier option which increased the winning amount from $250,000 to $1,000,000. The West Virginia ticket was one of only three in the nation that matched five numbers and played the Megaplier. The other two were sold in New Jersey and the Virgin Islands. This is the first $1 million MegaMillions prize winner in West Virginia. A single ticket that was sold in New York State matched all six numbers for the estimated $206 million jackpot.

Suspicious Powder Found At Travelers Insurance

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Emergency Hazmat and fire crews rushed to the Travelers Insurance office on Tennessee Avenue in Charleston about 9:30 A.M. Thursday morning after a suspicious powder was found in the mail. The office building was evacuated. Firefighters tested the powder and found it was likely a by-product of a sorting or mailing process. The scene was cleared in about an hour and workers went back inside.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

St. Albans Business Raided

  • {St. Albans, West Virginia}...Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies seized more than $100,000 worth of illegal drugs Wednesday night when deputies raided Pipe Dreamz, a tobacco store on Walnut Street in St. Albans. Twenty year old Matthew Ryan Loudin of Dunbar was charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver. Deputies found three pounds of marijuana, about 500 packages of synthetic marijuana and about 200 packages of synthetic cocaine. Police issued a search warrant for Pipe Dreamz after an under cover informant bought four packages of K2. St. Albans Police cited the store for operating without a business license. Deputies also recovered prescription pills and a firearm.

Huntington Business/Occupation Taxes To Change

  • {Huntington, West Virginia}...Starting Sunday, January 1, 2012, businesses in Huntington will see a reduction in their business and occupation taxes, and, for some, it will be eliminated. In August 2010, the Huntington City Council passed a reform package which is projected to reduce taxes on businesses by nearly $4 million annually. Manufacturing B&O taxes will be eliminated while retail taxes will be cut in half to 0.25 percent of sales and service will be cut in half to 0.50 percent of sales. Mayor Kim Wolfe says the 1 percent municipal sales tax which goes into effect Sunday is not tied to the 1 percent occupation tax which remains in litigation.

Capito Says EPA Rules Harsh On Economy

  • {Washington, D.C.}...U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito, D-W.Va., says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new rules unveiled last week for coal-fired power plants could eliminate jobs and will be particularly harsh on West Virginia's economy. The EPA  regulations aim to limit mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollutants from coal-fired plants. The rules require plants to be in compliance over the next three to four years. Over the next couple years, power companies will have to retrofit their plants, find an alternate fuel source or close coal-fired power plants. Capito says that will mean higher utility prices for manufacturers, individuals and senior citizens on a fixed income. Capito, who says the rules do not consider economic impacts, is pushing for legislation that calls for EPA officials to consider the economic effects of new policies, instead of just environmental concerns.  That bill has cleared the U.S. House, but has not gotten through U.S. Senate. EPA leaders say the new emissions standards could prevent more than 10,000 premature deaths each year, and cleaner air will limit the number of people with asthma and other illnesses.

Sissonville Woman Drops Lawsuit

{Sissonville, West Virginia}...In June, Sandra Shaffer sued Charleston officials, the Charleston Police Department and Kanawha County officials, claiming her home off of Hughart Drive near Sissonville was destroyed as police searched for clues in the 2003 sniper shootings. Shaffer has decided not to pursue further legal action against the city of Charleston after firing Mike Clifford as her attorney.

Woman Violates Probation

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Amanda Burnette admitted Wednesday to violating her probation by using marijuana twice since pleading guilty to child neglect with risk of injury last February and being placed on two years probation. She left her 2 year old daughter alone in their apartment for several hours in August of 2010. Burnette is scheduled to be sentenced in February. 

Fayette County BOE President Dies

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Sixty year old Leon Newman, a longtime member of the Fayette County Board of Education, died Tuesday morning of a sudden heart attack. Newman, who served on the board for more than a decade, was acting as the current board president. Newman was the first black person to serve on the board and the first elected to a countywide office since 1918. Newman was a proponent of school consolidation and oversaw the controversial closings of a handful of high schools in the county.

Nitro Police To Respond To Audit

{Nitro, West Virginia}...Nitro police are expected to provide answers at a regular City Council meeting January 3rd to a list of questions about the department's special revenue funds after state auditors said about $58,000 had been spent inappropriately. After the audit findings, City Council asked for an examination of several special Police Department accounts dating to 2007. Police Chief Jack Jordan says much of the money in the accounts came from donations and other sources, and he did not consider the accounts to be public money. Jordan and other Police Department officials have said they did nothing wrong in administering the accounts, but didn't have the paper trail state auditors wanted when they looked at the department's records. Some council members have questioned cash payments made to police officers for providing security at local construction projects, why money from the accounts was used to pay cellphone bills for Detective Don Scurlock while most Nitro city employees were told to give up their city-paid cellphones in 2007 because of runaway bills, if the officers filled out federal tax forms reporting the cash income and why individual police officers were paid $50 for each of their children, apparently to buy Christmas presents for them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Silver Alert Issued For Missing Logan County Man

{Charleston, West Virginia}...West Virginia State Police have issued a Silver Alert for 79 year old Walter Lowell Edmunds from Chapmanville. His car was found abandoned in a ditch near Riverside High School in Belle Monday, but he has no connections to the school or to the area. Edmunds is 5" 11' tall and weighs 144 pounds. Police say his family is fearing for his safety, because he suffers from dementia. No one is sure what Edmunds was doing in Kanawha County.

Former Putnam County Man Arrested

{Eleanor, West Virginia}...Donald K. Springsteadah, 45, of Sandyville, West Virginia, who once lived in Putnam County, has been charged with using obscene material to seduce children and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust. He faces two counts of each charge following allegations from a January 20th incident involving two 12 year old girls. Police obtained an arrest warrant August 22nd after Child Protective Services tipped them off to the allegations on January 27th. An investigation ensued and led to police confiscating a computer and analyzing cell phone records.

WV Gas Prices Increase

{Charleston, West Virginia}...West Virginia gas prices have increased a nickel this week as motorists paid an average of $3.344 per gallon. According to AAA's Fuel Gauge, crude oil futures climbed above $100 per barrel Tuesday while  economic optimism and a weaker dollar resulted in growing demand for crude oil. AAA says up to 91 percent of holiday travelers are driving to their year-end celebrations although national gas prices are almost 20 cents higher than a year ago.

Hundreds Attend Monsanto Case Mediation

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Hundreds of Nitro residents gathered Tuesday at the Charleston Marriott as attorneys attempted to forge a mediation in a class action lawsuit against the former Monsanto Company. The case, scheduled to begin trial January 3rd in Putnam Circuit Court, involves alleged contamination to properties and residents who lived near the former Monsanto chemical plant or attended school in the affected area from 1948 to the present. The lawsuit seeks medical monitoring for a large group of plaintiffs who believe they may have been adversely affected by an herbicide called 2,4,5-T at the Nitro plant. Monsanto owned and operated the plant from 1934 to 2000.The mass-litigation mediation involving 193 cases of alleged personal injury and wrongful death is being presided over by Circuit Judges Booker T. Stephens of McDowell County and Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats of Taylor County.

Mercer County BOE Taking Students/Parents To Court

{Princeton, West Virginia}...As part of a new program aimed at reducing truancy in its schools, the Mercer County Board of Education is taking chronically truant students and some parents to court. Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Omar Aboulhosn says the board has filed 52 status offender petitions and  twenty abuse and neglect petitions. Hearings will be held January 17th and 19th. Juvenile petitions are filed when a student has more than five unexcused absences during the school year. A truant student could be referred to the state Department of Health and Human Resources or placed on probation as a status offender.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Marmet Woman Arrested

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Susan Webb, 42, of Marmet, was arrested Sunday night and charged with six counts of fraud after police say she stole a purse from an 85 year old woman while she was shopping at the Foodland on MacCorkle Avenue in the Kanawha City area of Charleston on December 17th. Police say Webb then used a stolen credit card to make six transactions, totaling more than $830. Webb is also charged with armed robbery for an attack on Charles Overbaugh at his Chesapeake home. Webb also is charged with shoplifting and has  admitted to taking several items from the Rite Aid in Belle.

Body Found In Fayette County

  • {Fayette, West Virginia}... Fayette County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating after the body of 69 year old Benjamin Ray Neal was found about 10:15 P.M. Sunday night on Bracken Creek Road. Neal was last seen alive near the Russellville area on Friday.

Man Charged With Felony Firearm Possession

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Monday, police arrested Link Andrews of Charleston and charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm after they found a concealed weapon under the seat of a car driven by Aaron Mills. Andrews, who has a 1991 felony drug conviction in New Jersey, admitted the 40 caliber pistol found was his. Mills was charged with DUI.

Board To Review MSU Accreditation

{Beckley, West Virginia}...The state nursing board plans to review Mountain State University's accreditation after the school's nursing program lost its national accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission in October 2010, and another national accrediting body, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, denied the private university's bid for accreditation in November. The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses placed the nursing program on provisional accreditation in November 2010, saying university officials were required to maintain, at a minimum, the current number of full-time faculty and staff to correct deficiencies, which included a lack of strong leadership. Laura Rhodes, the board's executive director, says four nursing faculty members left on December 16th.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Charleston Meth Bust

{Charleston,  West Virginia}...Brittany Browning, 21, and Shane Thaxton, 34, both of Charleston, Crystal Larabee, 28, of Sissonville, and Randy Starcher, 33, and Jimmy Holcomb, 30, both of Kenna, all were arrested Friday evening after State Police found a meth lab at a home on Fore Drive in Charleston where three children were present. Acting on a tip, officers went to the home, where they found tubing, rubber gloves, coffee filters, glass jars with residue, and several small plastic baggies containing white powder.

Tomblin Orders Flags Lowered

{Charleston,  West Virginia}...Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is ordering the lowering of flags Tuesday at state facilities in honor of West Virginia National Guard pilot 42 year old Michael Scott Lakin of Charleston who was killed December 22nd while performing stunt aerial maneuvers during a recertification skills test at the Union County Airport in Marysville, Ohio. Lakin was commissioned as an officer in the Unites States Marine Corps. He left active duty and later joined the 130th West Virginia Air National Guard and spent over a year flying combat missions into Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member and flight instructor of the State Division of Aviation, Lakin piloted the State's King Air 350 and Cessna Grand Caravan airplanes.

Parks Offering New Year's Eve Options

{Charleston,  West Virginia}...West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officials say several of West Virginia's state parks with lodges are offering a variety of dinners and dances and packaged options for New Year's Eve. Lodging parks offering parties include Blackwater Falls, Cacapon Resort, Canaan Valley Resort, Chief Logan Lodge, North Bend, Pipestem Resort, Stonewall Resort, Twin Falls Resort, and Tygart Lake. The New Year's Eve packages include lodging, food and entertainment for the weekend. More information can be found at the West Virginia State Parks and Forests website at

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Randolph County Commission Chooses New County Prosecutor

{Elkins, West Virginia}...During a special meeting held Friday morning in Elkins, the Randolph County Commission chose Attorney Michael Parker, in a unanimous vote, as the new county prosecutor. Parker will fill the unexpired term of Richard Busch who resigned December 5th. Parker had formerly served as assistant prosecutor under Earl Maxwell and Frank Bush. He is a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law.

Domestic Battery Charges Against Commissioner Dropped

{Winfield, West Virginia}...Domestic battery charges against Putnam County Commissioner Gary Tillis have been dropped. After hearing testimony from Tillis' wife and step-daughter, a special prosecutor assigned to the case dropped the charges. Tillis said he did not hit his wife, and the step-daughter testified she called for help, but never said Tillis hit her mother. Tillis will not run for re-election next year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Charleston Man Charged With Sexual Abuse

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Jeremy Bruce Lane, 30, of Charleston, was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a 5-year-old family member. An investigation was launched after the girl contracted a bacterial infection. Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies say Lane was diagnosed with having the bacteria within the past two months. Lane is being held in South Central Regional Jail on a $100,000 cash-only bail.

UBB Wrongful Death Negotiations Set

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Alpha Natural Resources will try to negotiate settlement of 18 wrongful death lawsuits with families of men killed at the Upper Big Branch mine in April 2010. The four-day meeting begins January 6th at The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels. Alpha recently reached a $210 million settlement with the Department of Justice that spares the corporation criminal prosecution, wipes out 370 safety violations and includes $46.5 million in restitution to the miners' families, guaranteeing them and two survivors $1.5 million. Those who accept can still sue, but the $1.5 million will be deducted from any settlement or award.

SEC Requiring Mine Operators Report Fatalities/Violations

  • {Morgantown, West Virginia}...This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced new rules requiring mine operators to report fatalities and all major safety violations in quarterly and annual financial reports. The National Mining Association opposed the requirements when they were proposed and considers them duplicative. Spokeswoman Carol Raulston says the Mine Safety and Health Administration has a searchable database listing such information for every company. Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources says it's known about the requirements and will comply. Attorney Joel Bernstein, who is suing Massey Energy, says investors might have made better-informed decisions if Massey had been required to report safety violations to the SEC.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Virginia Woman Pleads Not Guilty

{Wheeling, West Virginia}...Forty-eight year old Anita Ambler of Reva, Virginia has pleaded not guilty to charges she stole more than $1.2 million in horse racing funds from Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia while she worked as bookkeeper. Prosecutors say the thefts occurred between 2005 and 2010, but weren't discovered until an audit was conducted after Ambler quit. She had worked at the track since the 1990s. Jury selection for her trial is set for February 7th. Any proposed plea agreement must be submitted by January 31st.

Body Of Missing McDowell County Man Found

  • {Roderfield, West Virginia}...Police say family members found the body of 63 year old Bernerd F. Bailey down a 70-foot embankment about a mile from his home in Roderfield in McDowell County on Wednesday. Bailey had been reported missing a day earlier.

Son Of Former Delegate Announces Run

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Josh Martin announced Thursday he is running for West Virginia State Senate next year, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father, Dale Martin, who served in the House of Delegates for more than a decade. Dale Martin died unexpectedly in May. Martin is running for a senate seat in a newly created district that covers northern Kanawha and Putnam counties. Martin is currently a lawyer and has worked in the West Virginia Attorney General's Office. If he wins, Martin will share the district with Senator Erik Wells.

Charleston Man Charged With Malicious Wounding

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Bobby Doss of Charleston has been charged with malicious wounding in the stabbing of Curtis Hairston. Police say Doss and Hairston got into a fight late Wednesday night at the Transit Mall in downtown Charleston, and Doss pulled out a knife and slashed Hairston on the face, cutting him from the corner of his nose to his top lip.

Prison Inmate Indicted

{Beckley, West Virginia}...Forty-one year old Elisha Riggleman, an inmate at the Metropolitan Corrections Center in New York, is facing charges of threatening a correctional officer and his family and witness tampering. An indictment says that, in December 2010, while Riggleman was an inmate at the Federal Corrections Institution in Beckley, he threatened to kidnap and assault a Federal Bureau of Prisons officer and to assault and kill the officer's wife and child. Riggleman also is charged with threatening four people this year in an attempt to influence their testimony. If convicted of all charges, Riggleman faces 100 years in prison.

WV Pilot Dies After Ohio Crash

Mike Lakin of Charleston, a member of the National Guard who had recently returned from Iraq, died after he was injured in a plane crash around noon Thursday at the Union County Airport in central Ohio. Airport general manager Ed Rusch says Lakin was performing low-altitude aerobatics for an on-site examiner when his plane crashed just south of the airport's runway in Marysville.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

EPA Issues Mercury And Air Toxics Standards

  • {Washington, D.C.}...The federal EPA issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Wednesday. The rules will require power companies to install equipment to control emissions to cut back on mercury, arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says, the rules which will require a 90 percent reduction in the total amount of mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants, is "the biggest Clean Air action yet." The rules are to be fully implemented by 2016. Power companies will have three years to make the changes but may be given a fourth year if the installation of the new equipment is taking place. There will also be additional consideration if taking a plant off line could impact electric reliability. United Mine Workers Union President Cecil Roberts says the Obama administration and the federal EPA have become tone-deaf when it comes to issues impacting coal miners and their families. Roberts says the standards will cause the "premature" closing of power plants and create the potential loss of 56,000 megawatts of power.

Former LPN Arraigned

  • {Huntington, West Virginia}...Thirty-six year old Travis Scott Burdette, a former LPN at Cabell Huntington Hospital, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Cabell County Court after being charged with 2 counts of sexual assault involving an elderly female patient at the hospital. If convicted, he could face 10 to 25 years in prison for each charge. His bond has been set at $300,000.

Barboursville Man Charged With Felony Robbery

  • {Huntington, West Virginia}...Police have charged 21 year old Jacolbey Deaven Bills of Barboursville with first-degree felony robbery. Police say, on December 10th, Bills approached his former friend, Joshua Sutphin, in a church parking lot at 26th Street and 1st Avenue in Huntington and began punching Sutphin in the face and head, knocking him unconscious. Bills then hit Sutphin's head on the ground several times and kicked him in the face before taking $100 dollars from his pocket. Sutphin suffered a broken collarbone, cuts and severe bruising and was treated at a local hospital.

Former State Lawmaker Dies

{Chapmanville, West Virginia}...Former state lawmaker Earl Hager died Monday in Chapmanville, in Logan County, at the age of 102 years. Hager served in the House of Delegates from 1952 to 1973. He taught in schools throughout Logan County including a one-room schoolhouse at Lilly Branch in 1933. Hager was also a World War II veteran and was a member of American Legion Post 19. Evans Funeral Home in Chapmanville is in charge of arrangements. Visitation is set for 6-9 P.M. Thursday with the funeral at 2:00 P.M. Friday at the funeral home.

Boone County Man Sentenced

{Ottawa, West Virginia}...Fifty-two year old Barry Mounts, of Ottawa, in Boone County, has been sentenced to to 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to three counts of delivery of a controlled substance. Police say, in May, they seized more than eight hundred prescriptions pills and more than $40,000 in cash from his mobile home.

Tim Manchin Considers Congressional Run

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Voters in West Virginia's 1st Congressional District may be asked to vote next fall for U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and his cousin, State House Delegate Tim Manchin, D-Marion. Tim Manchin said Tuesday he is considering a run for Congress, and he and Senator Joe Manchin plan to discuss it over the holidays. Former state Senator Mike Oliverio announced late last week that he did not plan to run against one-term Representative David McKinley, to whom he narrowly lost in 2010. Sue Thorn, a former field organizer for the party, also will vy for the Democratic nomination.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Former Mingo County Doctor Pleads Guilty

  • {Williamson, West Virginia}...Former Mingo County doctor 66 year old William Ryckman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to misuse a Drug Enforcement Administration registration number. Prosecutors say Ryckman signed paperwork sent to his Pennsylvania home by his office in Williamson allowing individuals he did not evaluate or see as patients to obtain prescriptions for Hydrocodone and other medications. Ryckman faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced March 28th.

WV State Police Stepping Up Holiday Patrol

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...DUI arrests in West Virginia seems to be dropping, down from 6,841 in 2008 to 6,112 last year, but troopers still want to get the word out not to drink and drive. During a news conference Tuesday, West Virginia State Police Sgts. Michael Baylous, Chris Zerkle and Jay Powers said extra troopers will be out during the holiday season thanks to grant money allocated by the state that allows troopers to work extra shifts or put in overtime to keep the roads safe. Sgt. Baylous says, "Driving under the influence is a conscious and selfish decision." Sgt. Zerkle says driving under the influence doesn't just apply to alcohol but also includes motorists who are driving while taking legal or illegal prescription drugs. He says many people don't realize that some prescription medications carry warnings not to drive while taking the drugs. If caught on the road after taking a legally prescribed drug with such a warning, "you're under the influence, and you can be arrested."

Charleston Man Sentenced

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Shavan Collins of Charleston was sentenced  to 2 to 10 years in prison for malicious wounding Tuesday after pleading guilty in the shooting of Dakarri White of Detroit, leaving him paralyzed from multiple gunshot wounds. Collins was arrested in June after the shooting on Charleston's West Side. The deal also calls for the sentence to run at the same time as the sentence Collins gets for violating his federal supervised release.

Accused Sniper Waives Speedy Trial Rights

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Shawn Lester was in court Tuesday to waive his speedy trial rights after being charged with the 2003 Kanawha County sniper shooting deaths of Jeanie Patton, Gary Carrier Jr. and Okey Meadows Jr. Authorities arrested Lester on March 30th and charged him with Patton's death but had not linked him to the other two deaths until  later.  The trial was moved from March 5th to May 29th. Lester says he will seek to have the trial moved out of Charleston.

Protest In Missing Lewis County Toddler Case

{Weston, West Virginia}...Tina Smith, an aunt of 3 year old Aliayah Lunsford, who vanished from her Bendale home in Lewis County on September 24th, led a protest outside the Lewis County courthouse Monday as Aliayah's parents, Lena and Ralph, attended a hearing with child-welfare officials. Twenty-nine year old Lena Lunsford has seven children, including Aliayah and infant twins. The older children have been in state custody since Aliayah disappeared.

Commission Seeks Change In Estate Appointment

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Kanawha County commissioners are asking Circuit Court Judge Tod Kaufman to reconsider his order appointing 34 year old Susan R. Williams of Cedar Grove as executrix of the estate of her deceased mother, Ray Joyce Breeden, because Williams is a convicted felon. Kaufman also ordered the commission to pay all of Williams' attorney fees and court costs. Commission President Kent Carper says the fiduciary office has a policy barring convicted felons from being placed in charge of estates. Carper said the policy stemmed from cases of executors or executrixes "raiding" estates. In 1997, Williams pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to transfer, manufacture and possess unregistered firearms. She tried to sell 20 homemade pipe bombs to an undercover federal agent in February 1997 for $400. Williams was sentenced to 27 months in a federal prison.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Five Charged In Fire At Police Detachment

  • {Rainelle, West Virginia}...Monday, West Virginia State Police Troopers arrested 22 year old Nicholas Michael White of Danese, along with 47 year old David Clayton White and 26 year old Joshua Emmanuel Redden, both of Meadow Bridge, and charged them with one count of second-degree arson, eight counts of third-degree arson and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony. Jennifer White, 32, the wife of David White, and Floyd White, 56 of Danese are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit a felony. Police say, around 1:00 A.M. on December 15th, fire was set to 5 vehicles at the West Virginia State Police detachment in Rainelle, destroying two State Police vehicles and three others. Police say three of the vehicles were part of an ongoing investigation.

Man Pleads Guilty To Video Parlor Robbery

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Forty-three year old Daniel Lunsford of Dunbar plead guilty to first degree robbery Monday morning in Kanawha County Circuit Court, admitting he used a knife to rob Sassy's, a video slots parlor in South Charleston, in August. He got 15 dollars in the robbery. Prosecutors will recommend a 30 year sentence for Lunsford at his disposition hearing on February 9th.

Charleston Man Pleads Guilty To Copper Theft

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Forty-four year old Ronald Taylor of Charleston pleaded guilty Monday to stealing copper rain gutters and downspouts from homes in Kanawha City and Edgewood Drive areas in August. Taylor said he took the copper to Nitro Recycling Center, and employees there did not question where it came from. Taylor will be sentenced in February. Indicted along with Taylor was Robert S. Foster, 41, and Jeffrey Taylor, 42, of Charleston.

Man Pleads Guilty To Sexual Abuse

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Monday morning, 51 year old Scott Phalen of Charleston entered a guilty plea in Kanawha County Circuit Court to first-degree sexual abuse involving his young daughter. Phalen was arrested October 23rd and had been on home confinement, but Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib reinstated a bond of $75,000 after he violated the terms twice. Sentencing is scheduled for February 14, 2012.

Wayne County Man Sentenced

{Wayne, West Virginia}...Monday morning, Warner Lee Hall of Wayne was sentenced to 105 years in prison after a jury convicted him of 23 counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian and 11 counts of obscene material with intent to seduce a minor. During the trial, the alleged 14 year old victim said Hall made her trade sexual favors for privileges like a later bedtime and watching movies.

Logan County Couple Sues Law Firm

{Winfield, West Virginia}...Roger and Mary Spencer, of Holden, in Logan County, have filed a lawsuit against Putnam County law firm Armada, Rogers & Thompson PLLC of Hurricane for allegedly failing to provide them adequate representation during their case filed October 24, 2006 against Putnam General Hospital and former doctor of osteopathy John A. King. According to the complaint. Roger Spencer was one of King's patients in 2003. King was the focus of 124 medical malpractice lawsuits during his seven months on the staff of Putnam General Hospital. In 2008, the Hospital Corporation of America, based in Nashville, Tennessee, paid about $100 million to settle the malpractice lawsuits filed by King's former patients in West Virginia. In March 2010, a Putnam circuit judge dismissed the Spencers' claim against King, saying their case wasn't filed in time. The lawsuit alleges that, as a result of the Armada law firm's negligence, the Spencers lost their right to pursue monetary recovery for their claims against King.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Man Charged With Operating Meth Lab

{St. Albans, West Virginia}...Twenty-nine year old Lucas Lynch is charged with operating or attempting to operate a clandestine meth lab after Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies arrested him Saturday morning at a home in St. Albans. The homeowner, who was allowing Lynch and his girlfriend to temporarily stay with her, called and told police she thought Lynch had meth making materials. Deputies say they found Lynch with a bag of Coleman fuel, tubing, and other containers. Lynch claims he wasn't using meth while in the home, and he wants to turn a new leaf and steer people away from the meth kick.

Driver Killed In Kanawha County

{Pratt, West Virginia}...Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies say Tabitha Shamblin, 27, was driving along Paint Creek Road in Pratt about 3:30 P.M. Sunday, with her 2 year old son, Kadence Shamblin, when her vehicle ran off the road and went over an embankment. Tabitha Shamblin was pronounced dead at the scene. Kadence did not suffer any apparent injuries.

Police Officer Hit By Car

{Charleston, West Virginia}...South Charleston Police Officer Aaron Cook is recovering after being hit by a car while directing traffic at the four-way intersection near the Men's Wearhouse store on Trace Fork Boulevard about 6:30 P.M. Saturday. Cook was treated and released from a local hospital after suffering injuries to his ankle and shoulder. Cook is the third officer in the Charleston area to be injured in such accidents in the past month.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grenade Found In Donations

{Beckley, West Virginia}...Workers sorting through donations at a Salvation Army thrift store on South Fayette Street called Beckley Police Friday after discovering a grenade in a cardboard box full of computer keyboards. The West Virginia State Police bomb squad inspected the device and determined that it wasn't live and didn't pose a threat. The grenade will undergo more testing at the state crime lab.

Coal Company Sues British Steel Company

{Princeton, West Virginia}...Mid-Vol Coal Sales Inc. of Princeton, West Virginia is suing British steel trading company Balli Steel PLC for breach of contract, arguing the company agreed last year to purchase 480,000 net tons of metallurgical coal in 12 monthly shipments at $130 per ton, but it reneged in the first month. Mid-Vol says it was forced to sell to other buyers at a lower price and suffered more than $10 million in damages. Mid-Vol filed the suit in McDowell County Circuit Court, but Balli Steel wants the case heard in federal court.

Pseudoephedrine Bill Sought

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Over-the-counter pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in the manufacturing of meth. West Virginia Delegate Don Perdue and Senator Ken Foster are continuing to press for making pseudoephedrine available by prescription only. Retailers and drug-makers are instead promoting the use of an electronic database linking pharmacies across the country in a real-time pseudoephedrine tracking system that monitors the amounts being purchased. Foster and Perdue say meth manufacturers can circumvent that by employing many people to each buy smaller quantities, and a system that tracks sales isn't enough to curb methamphetamine labs.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Murder-Suicide In Mingo County

{Newtown, West Virginia}...West Virginia State Police are investigating a murder-suicide in Mingo County. Police say Steven Whitt went to a house on Mark's Branch Road in the Newtown area about 11:45 P.M. Thursday night after he and Justin Jordan had been involved in an ongoing argument because troopers say Whitt's estranged wife was having a relationship with Jordan. Troopers say Whitt fatally shot Jordan and then turned the gun on himself. 

Nitro Man Pleads Not Guilty To Murder

{Winfield, West Virginia}...Matt Little of Nitro was in Putnam County Court Friday morning where he pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Yvonne Thomas of Cedar Grove ten years ago. Thomas was reported missing in the summer of 2001. The following November her skeletal remains were found in Lincoln County. An autopsy determined she died from a gunshot wound. Six years later a federal inmate in New Jersey told authorities about the crime and where in Putnam County it took place. Until the trial is over, Little will be moved from Huttonsville Correctional Facility to the South Central Regional Jail.

Deadly Arson Case Sent To Grand Jury

{Alum Creek, West Virginia}...Charles Roberts of Alum Creek was in court Friday charged with arson after allegedly starting a fire that led to the death of Davis Creek volunteer firefighter 61 year old Joey King. Davis Creek and Alum Creek firefighters had received a call about some railroad ties that caught fire in the area of Sand Plant Road in Alum Creek. Crews were attempting to locate the fire when King fell from the Steven Wayne Smith Memorial Bridge and down an embankment. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The case was sent to the Kanawha County grand jury.

Teen Charged With Murder...Bond Denied

{Charleston, West Virginia}...James Daughtery, 16, of Charleston, was in court Friday seeking a bond after being charged with the February 2010 double murder of Bruce Duling and Carrie Pontier who were found shot to death in a car along Chesterfield Avenue in Kanawha City. Judge Carrie Webster denied the bond motion but told the defense she would reconsider her decision once they file a "best interest analysis" and prove Daughtery is not a flight risk. Defense filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying it has been 22 months and Daughtery has not had a trial, but has been in jail. The defense claims it's against his constitutional rights to hold him since he's had no bond and been incarcerated without getting a speedy trial. Prosecutors say since he has just been transferred to adult status they now have three terms in which a grand jury can indict him.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Grants To Clean Up Abandoned Coal Mines

{Washington, D.C.}...Thursday, the Department of Interior and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced nearly a half a billion dollars in grants for states and tribes to eliminate health and safety hazards caused by past coal mining. West Virginia is getting about $66.5 million to clean up abandoned coal mines. Since 1977, the office has provided more than $7.2 billion to help reclaim more than 295,000 acres of abandoned mine sites.

UMWA And Alpha Settle Contracts

{Charleston, West Virginia}...The United Mine Workers of America and Virginia-based Alpha Natural Resources have signed new 5-and-a-half-year contracts for five former Massey Energy coal preparation plants. Union President Cecil Roberts says 145 employees in West Virginia and Kentucky have been working under the terms of a contract that expired in 1998. Roberts says the workers will get a substantial raise for the first time in 14 years when the deal goes into effect January 1st, plus annual wage increases for the life of the agreement and a $1,000 bonus. Workers also get shift differentials, sickness and accident benefits, and better health care benefits. Roberts says Massey refused to deal with the workers when they were represented by the union, but Alpha is taking a new approach to its workers. The new labor agreement will last until June 30, 2017.

Vehicles Burn Behind State Police Detachment

{Rainelle, West Virginia}...State Police Sgt. Mike Baylous says three of the five vehicles that were set on fire and exploded at 1:05 A.M. Thursday morning behind the State Police detachment in Rainelle in Greenbrier County were brought to the detachment the day before the fire as part of a separate ongoing investigation. The other two cars belonged to the State Police. One was a marked cruiser, and the other was used by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. The Rainelle Detachment is not manned 24-hours a day, and no one was there when the fire was set. Baylous says evidence found at the scene indicates the fire was intentionally set.

Wheeling Grand Jury Indicts Doctor

{Wheeling, West Virginia}...U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Thursday that 45 year old Douglas P. Broderick, a doctor who ran cash-only pain clinics in Florida and South Carolina, was indicted by a grand jury in Wheeling on charges he supplied large quantities of drugs for no legitimate medical purpose. Ihlenfeld says some of Broderick's  customers were from the Ohio Valley and got their drugs after they returned to West Virginia and Ohio. If convicted, Broderick could get 20 years in prison. Prosecutors say the interstate conspiracy ran from February 2010 until this past March.

Sissonville Man Pleads Guilty To Firearms Charge

{Sissonville, West Virginia}...Rodney Preston Shaffer II, 36, of Sissonville, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced on March 21, 2012. Wednesday, Shaffer pleaded guilty to federal charges of possession of a firearm while being addicted to controlled substances. He admitted to owning 23 firearms law enforcement officers seized from his home in March and that, at the time, he was a user of methamphetamine and pain pills. Federal prosecutors dropped a charge of distribution of methamphetamine and a charge of making a false statement to federal authorities. On two separate occasions, between 2008 and 2011, law enforcement officers found pain pills on Shaffer. Shaffer is the son of Sandra Shaffer, the owner of a 53-acre piece of property searched in March while police looked for evidence in the 2003 sniper shooting deaths of three Kanawha County residents.

Attorney General Suing Liberty Mutual

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Thursday, the office of West Virginia Attorney General  Darrell McGraw announced it will sue Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. and Greg Chandler's Frame and Body Shop in St. Albans for alleged violations of the state's junk parts law. In the suit, the state claims that the insurance company required body shops to repair vehicles with reconditioned, remanufactured and used parts and that Liberty Mutual did not properly inform customers that those parts were used on their vehicles. McGraw's office started its investigation into the practices of Liberty Mutual and Greg's Body Shop after getting evidence that junk parts were used in some repairs. The lawsuit asks the court to stop the defendants from following the practice in the future and seeks restitution for affected customers and civil penalties. Consumers who believe they have been victims of the practices in question can call the attorney general's consumer protection hotline at 1-800-368-8808.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eligible Inmates Not Paroled

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Joe Thornton, secretary of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, says nearly 1,600 West Virginia eligible inmates were not paroled during the past three years, costing the state $35 million. Thornton says the inmates couldn't be paroled because they lacked a mandatory plan for release, which is required for all parolees. Thornton told state lawmakers Tuesday that West Virginia will continue to struggle with overcrowded jails and prisons until the problem is addressed.

Roane County Man Charged With Murder

  • {Newton, West Virginia}...West Virginia State Police say Adam Scott Lytle of Frametown, in Roane County, and Jeremy Smith were at a party together at a house on Tawney Hollow Road in Newton and were sitting on a couch together when Lytle picked up a 12 gauge shotgun and shot Smith twice from point blank range. Police found Smith lying in the doorway with a gunshot wound to the chest and a gunshot wound to his right side. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. In initial interviews, Lytle denied being involved in the shooting, instead telling police that someone else in the house fired the shots. Interviews with other witnesses match the evidence found at the scene, implicating Lytle as the teen responsible. Lytle has been charged with first degree murder.

CVB Searching For President/CEO

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Board members with the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau held a meeting Wednesday at which a search committee was formed to begin interviewing candidates for a new President and CEO of the CVB. Longtime President and CEO Patty Bradley was terminated last week, about a month after the bureau's director of operations, Tracie Breedlove Dennis, 38, was charged with forgery and uttering. Police say $100,000 to $237,000 may be missing from its accounts. Board members say Bradley is not suspected of taking any money. The board named Jama Jarrett as the interim director last week. During the meeting Wednesday, board members voted to increase her pay by $1,000 a month while she serves as the interim director.

Man Accused Of Beating Mother

{Scott Depot, West Virginia}...Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies have charged 35 year old Larry Frazier Jr. with kidnapping after he allegedly tied up, gagged and beat his mother Bonnie Frazier in her Scott Depot home. Deputies responded to the home about 11:30 P.M. Tuesday night and found Frazier bound with zip ties and her mouth covered with duct tape. She told deputies her son also held a knife to her throat. Frazier was found hiding in some bushes at Kanawha Terrace in St. Albans, where his estranged wife lives. Police say Frazier had made threats to kill her. Frazier refused to cooperate with the officer's commands, so he had to be forcibly placed in handcuffs. Officers say Frazier threatened to kill the man dating his estranged wife, and they described the threat as "calm, direct and explicit."

Glasgow Police Officer Shot

{Glasgow, West Virginia}...Police say Nicky Don Smith II shot Glasgow Police Officer Steve Smith Tuesday night while Smith and Officer A.J. Roop were responding to a reported burglary at a home on Glass Fire Lane. As Officer Smith, who was off-duty, not in uniform and was not wearing a bulletproof vest, attempted to open the door, Nicky Smith opened the door and shot him in the upper arm. Nicky Smith told officers he shot Officer Smith because he was afraid it was someone trying to break into his home. Nicky Smith has been charged with malicious assault of a police officer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

U.S. Postal Service Delays Rural Closings

  • {Washington, D.C.}...The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to delay rural post office closings and distribution center consolidations for six months. West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller says the move temporarily protects tens of thousands of jobs, including more than 160 in West Virginia. It also preserves service for customers. Rockefeller and 21 fellow senators had asked for the delay, and this week, the Postal Service agreed to hold off until at least May 15th. It's considering ending overnight delivery and closing 3,700 mostly rural post offices and 252 mail processing facilities nationwide. That includes 150 post offices and eight processing centers in West Virginia. Rockefeller says the cuts would slow or even stop service for dozens of neighborhoods, and Congress should help the Postal Service solve its financial problems.

Accused Armed Robbers Appear In Court

{Huntington, West Virginia}...David Deel, Kimberly Deel, Joshua Deel and James Perry appeared before Cabell County Judge Alfred Ferguson Tuesday morning accused of the May 26th armed robbery of Java Joes, a coffee shop in Huntington. Police say one of the men entered with a knife, locked everyone in the back and then took an undisclosed amount of money. Joshua Deel and James Perry pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced February 13th. David Deel's trial will begin February 8th, and Kimberly Deel is expected to enter a plea January 30th.

Kentucky Man Arrested In Kanawha County

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Larry Brewer, 36, of Lovely, Kentucky was arrested during a traffic stop in Kanawha County Monday and charged with possession of prescription drugs and traffic offenses. Kanawha Deputy R.D. Meadows was traveling through Charleston when he stopped a vehicle traveling the wrong way on Pennsylvania Avenue and discovered Brewer was driving on a suspended operators license. Meadows tried to search Brewer for weapons, but he resisted, and Meadows arrested Brewer. During a later search of Brewer's car, prescription drugs were found.

Judge Denies Request For New Attorney

{St. Albans, West Virginia}...Garland Murray, 27, of St. Albans, is scheduled for trial on January 30th after being accused of shooting to death Gregory Poole, 31, of Woodward Drive on April 21, 2010, and attempting to kidnap Poole's wife, Ebony. His trial was originally scheduled for October 2010. Murray, who is currently housed at Huttonsville Correctional Center, says Tom Price and Tim Carrico, his third and fourth court-appointed public defenders, are not paying enough attention to his case. Circuit Judge Charles King has denied Murray's request for a change in attorneys, but Judge King ordered that Murray be moved to Charleston to help prepare for his upcoming trial.

Bluefield Man Pleads Guilty

{Bluefield, West Virginia}...Twenty year old Patrick Flack of Bluefield faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Monday in Mercer County Circuit Court to wanton endangerment and destruction of property. Police say that, in 2010, Flack and another man fired a total 82 rounds from an AK-47 and a handgun during a shooting spree that damaged two downtown buildings on Bland Street in Bluefield. Flack is scheduled to be sentenced February 6th.

Beckley Woman Won't Face Charges

{Beckley,  West Virginia}...Beckley police say no charges will be filed against 73 year old Drema McCallister, the driver of a car that crashed into Flowers Bakery last week, hitting 73 year old Nina Kirk of Midway. Kirk suffered a leg injury and died three days later at a Charleston hospital. Police say McCallister crashed through a wall at the bakery after she accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shooting In Huntington

  • {Huntington, West Virginia}...Huntington Police are investigating a shooting that occurred about 4:00 P.M. Monday afternoon at the Marathon Station along Hal Greer Boulevard. Police say Mark King, 27 of Huntington, showed up at Cabell Huntington Hospital where he immediately went into surgery for a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Trey A. Davis, 23 of Charleston, fled the scene in his vehicle but he was followed by a witness who was advising West Virginia State Police of his location. The suspect was stopped on Interstate 64 near Milton. Davis was taken into custody and the weapon used was found in his vehicle. Police say the two know each other, and the shooting stemmed from an altercation between them.

Man Pleads Guilty To Sexual Abuse

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Brandon Justin Long, 24, faces a possible 200 years or more in prison after pleading guilty Monday to the sexual abuse of a young girl. Assistant Prosecutor Erica Lord says the charges include oral sex involving a family member Long was babysitting when she was 5 years old. The sexual abuse occurred at a home on Derricks Creek Road in Sissonville. Long is being held at South Central Regional Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond and will be sentenced February 9th.

Va. Woman Faces WV Embezzlement Charge

  • {Wheeling, West Virginia}...Forty-eight year old Anita Ambler of Reva, Virginia faces 21 counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and six counts of using criminal proceeds for a transaction. Federal prosecutors say, between 2005 and 2010, Ambler embezzled $1.2 million from a racing account at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia while she worked there as a bookkeeper. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld says Ambler paid about $200,000 for a home and 5-acre lot in Virginia. He's seeking forfeiture of those, plus the cash. Ambler is to appear in court in Wheeling on December 22nd.

Man Denied Bond

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Ernest Lyle Young of Handley was denied bond Monday after being charged with the bludgeoning death of 81 year old Wilfred Naylor, who was found dead in his Kelleys Creek home June 15th. Young's attorney, Shawn Bayliss, told Circuit Judge James Stucky that Young had known Naylor for years, and the two had once had a physical relationship. Bayliss said that, on June 15th, Young had a fight with his wife and called Naylor who picked Young up at a local restaurant and took him to his home where he came on to Young. Bayliss presented the information in an attempt to convince the judge that the charge of first-degree murder against Young wouldn't hold up, and the charge should be second-degree murder.

Bond Denied In Teen Shooting Death

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...In November, a grand jury indicted Michael Mandrell Johnson of Marmet and Marcus Dewayne "Money" Wesley on first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of 17 year old Leland Chace Miller. Investigators say, in August 2007, Miller was sitting on the steps of his home on Lewis Street when then 16 year old Johnson, wearing a bandana on his face, approached from behind and shot him in the back. Miller tried to run but was shot several times while 25 year old Wesley acted as a lookout. Monday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Charles E. King denied Johnson's request for a $5,000 bail. A trial is scheduled for both men on February 27th.

Huntington Man Allegedly Pulls Gun On Wife

{Huntington, West Virginia}...Fifty-seven year old Wayne Adkins of Huntington faces multiple charges after he allegedly pulled a gun on his wife during an argument Sunday evening. Police say, when his wife called 911, he disconnected the line, and, when she tried to call for help from a phone in another room, he pointed a pistol at her. When troopers arrived at their home on Skyview Drive and approached Adkins, he dropped the pistol, but then refused to comply with their orders. He was arrested after a brief struggle.

Man Charged With Possession

{Rand, West Virginia}...Around 4:45 A.M. Saturday morning, Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a report of a possible burglary on Bluefield Avenue in Rand. A witness told deputies a man tried to get into his aunt's house, but, when they confronted the man, he took off. The witness identified the suspect as 34 year old Joseph Lee Church of Columbus, Ohio. Deputies caught up with Church on Raven Drive, where he attempted to flee on foot. Deputies found over a half pound of marijuana, thousands of narcotic prescription pills, including Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Codeine, Dilaudid, and Lorzazpam, and more than $1200 in cash on Church, along with personal property believed to have been stolen in the Rand area. Church is charged with possession with intent to distribute substances, fleeing and obstruction.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Huntington Man Faces Sexual Abuse Charges

{Huntington, West Virginia}...Huntington Police arrested 24 year old Brandon Lee Osborne Saturday morning and charged him with trespassing, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sexual assault, attempted burglary, fleeing on foot and first-degree battery on an officer. Officers say Osborne inappropriately touched a woman at a pool hall along Washington Avenue and tried to force her into a supply room in the back of the hall, but he fled when police arrived on the scene. Police say he attempted to break into several homes before they caught up with him. During the arrest, police say Osborne tried to fight several officers and even faked having a seizure.

Lawmakers Discuss Marcellus Drilling

{Charleston, West Virginia}...The state Senate and House of Delegates were called into special session Sunday evening to work on regulations dealing with drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus shale. Lawmakers were already set to be in Charleston for monthly interim committee meetings that begin Monday morning. A special legislative committee finished work on a draft bill last month. Tomblin released the highlights of his bill Friday afternoon. Those highlights include accepting the interim committee's recommended permit fee structure of $10,000 for the first well and $5,000 for subsequent wells, requiring operators to obtain an agreement with the West Virginia Division of Highways to maintain and repair roads affected by drilling, standards designed to protect the state's water resources including private wells, streams, and wetland areas, dditional rights to surface owners where the drilling is expected to occur and wells to be located at least 625 feet from occupied dwellings.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

WV State Trooper In Critical Condition

{Logan, West Virginia}...West Virginia State Police Trooper S.A. Belt was responding to a bar fight in Stollings in Logan County about 3:50 A.M. Saturday morning when he hit a patch of black ice and crashed. Belt was taken to Logan Regional and was then flown to CAMC General Hospital in Charleston in critical condition.

Judges To Discuss Truancy

{Charleston, West Virginia}...West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Jean Davis and 19th Circuit Court Judge Alan Moats hosted 14 regional meetings about truancy around the state this fall, and they plan to discuss their findings beginning at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday morning, December 13th, in the House of Delegates chamber at the Capitol. During the regional meetings, the judges discussed ways the courts can work with educators, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and other officials to keep kids in school. The meetings were conducted in Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Clarksburg, Elkins, Keyser, Martinsburg, Point Pleasant, Summersville, Lewisburg, Logan, and Beckley.

Postal Service Considering Southside Closure

{Southside, West Virginia}...The U.S. Postal Service is considering the closure of the Southside Post Office in Mason County. A public meeting is scheduled for 5:30-6:30 P.M. Monday, December 12th at Harmony Church, right beside the post office.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Huntington Man Arrested

{Huntington, West Virginia}...Joshua Harris, 25, of Huntington, has been arrested and charged with two counts of felony child abuse by a parent or guardian causing bodily injury and one count of misdemeanor domestic battery. Police say the children of his girlfriend suffered abrasions to their face and neck and contusions to their ears after they say Harris put his hands around their necks. The mother told police that she and Harris got into an argument and he grabbed her by the throat and choked her, refused to let her leave the residence and threw a telephone at her, hitting her in the mouth.

Trial Rescheduled For Comedian Andy Dick

{Huntington, West Virginia}...During a pretrial hearing Friday in Huntington Friday, Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul Farrell okayed a motion to move the sexual abuse trial for comedian Andy Dick, which was scheduled to start January 17th. The trial has been rescheduled for May 1st. Police arrested Dick on January 23, 2010 after two men accused him of inappropriately fondling them at the Rum Runners Night Club after he had performed a comedy routine at the Funny Bone. Dick, who is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, remains free on bail.

Former Basketball Player Of The Year Arrested

{Logan, West Virginia}...Former West Virginia High School Basketball Player of the Year 20 year old Noah Cottrill was arrested Thursday night during a traffic stop in Logan and charged with possession of a controlled substance and petit larceny, which are both misdemeanors. A State Trooper found a bag in the backseat of the car Cottrill was in that had 10 white pills in it. The trooper says the pills were identified as Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone. Cottrill allegedly took a $500 chain from Jamie Evans in Logan County. Cottrill, who began his high school career at Poca before transferring to Mountain State Prep and then on to Logan, led the Logan Wildcats to the AAA State Title in 2010. Before his sophomore season in high school, he verbally committed to WVU, but he never made it into a game with the Mountaineers. Cottrill reported to Morgantown last fall but was off the team before the season got started.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

MSHA Investigation Continues

  • {Washington, D.C.}...Investigations by MSHA, the independent team led by Davitt McAteer, and the United Mine Workers have agreed that serious, pervasive and widespread violations of basic safety standards by Massey were the root causes of the April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine. But the MSHA report, released Tuesday, also concluded that methane that ignited the deadly blast likely leaked from the mine floor through exactly the sort of mechanism as three earlier methane incidents, in 1997, 2003 and 2004. MSHA had recommended steps to avoid such incidents, but Massey never implemented them, and MSHA has admitted it didn't follow up. MSHA administrator Kevin Stricklin said Thursday that an agency "internal review" team looking into MSHA's actions at Upper Big Branch is likely to report that his agency should have done more to follow up on the earlier methane incidents and any Massey remedial actions, and it appears to him that it wasn't addressed, but he's waiting to be told that in writing. Stricklin also emphasized that improper safety examinations, worn-out mining machine bits, missing water sprays, inadequate roof support and a pattern of poor rock-dusting all contributed to the disaster. In a statement issued Thursday, House Labor Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., said, "If MSHA failed to act on critical information that may have improved the safety of those miners, the people of West Virginia deserve to know why."

Alum Creek Man Charged With Arson

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Police have charged  37 year old Charles "Darren" Roberts of Alum Creek with third-degree arson in connection to a fire Saturday night that resulted in the death of Davis Creek-Ruthdale volunteer firefighter 61 year old Joey King. Roberts told investigators he used a cardboard box to ignite a tire which in turn caused railroad ties to catch fire. Police say King was looking over the Steven Wayne Memorial Bridge when he fell off and down an embankment. Roberts' bond was set at $250,000 dollars. The case will be sent to the Kanawha Prosecuting Attorney's Office to determine if additional charges will be filed.

Random Drug Testing For Boone County Deputies

{Madison, West Virginia}...Beginning in January, all Boone County Sheriff's Office employees will be subjected to random drug testing, but Sheriff Rodney Miller took his drug test Thursday. Miller says the new policy is not the result of a problem at the agency, but it's important because his employees are in a position of public trust. The random testing will be run by a private company with county funding. Previously employees were screened before hiring, but not afterward.

Man Accused Of Stealing Car

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Charleston Police are searching for a man suspected of stealing a 1962 white Ford Fairlane from a metered parking place on Laidley Street about 9:30 P.M. Tuesday night. Surveillance cameras caught images of the man. The suspect is believed to be a 60-65-year-old white male and might be an Air Force veteran. Witnesses say the man asked employees at a nearby hospital about the vehicle. He then left the hospital, got in the car and left. Anyone with information is asked to call Charleston Police at 304-348-6580.

Rockefeller Seeks Support For Mine Safety Act

{Charleston, West Virginia}...U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller is seeking support for the Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act which would target problem mines for shutdown, increase penalties for serious safety violations and seek to protect whistle-blowers. Rockefeller and Senator Joe Manchin introduced the measure in January after a similar measure failed to clear the U.S. House late last year. Critics of the earlier bill called it premature.

Court Approves Massey Slurry Settlement

{Morgantown, West Virginia}...A $35 million settlement between Massey Energy and some 600 southern West Virginia residents has court approval. Current and former residents of Rawl, Lick Creek, Merrimac and Sprigg had accused Massey of contaminating their aquifer and wells by pumping 1.4 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry into worked-out underground mines between 1978 and 1987. Wednesday, Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone signed an order declaring the deal reached July 27th "fair, just and reasonable under the circumstances." Mazzone headed a three-judge Mass Litigation Panel that had been set to try the 7-year-old case against Massey and its Rawl Sales & Processing subsidiary. The order directs Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc. to pay up within 30 days. It also schedules a hearing for December 16th to hear from any guardians for minors who have yet to appear and to hear a petition for approval of wrongful death settlements.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mysterious Stabbing In West Dunbar

  • {Dunbar, West Virginia}...Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating a mysterious stabbing in West Dunbar. Larry Terrence Martin, 22, was taken to CAMC General Hospital after he had awakened Wednesday morning to find that he had been stabbed in the leg. Martin told deputies he had been bar hopping in Charleston the night before and went home with a friend, but he didn't know how he got stabbed or who might have stabbed him. Deputies found a knife believed to have been used in the stabbing.

Man Pleads Guilty To Sexual Charge

  • {Huntington, West Virginia}...Otis C. Adkins, 60, of Branchland, pleaded guilty Monday to traveling across state lines with intent to engage in sexual conduct with a teenage girl. Police say Adkins traveled from Branchland, West Virginia to Ashland, Kentucky on July 13th after he and the supposed teenager had developed an Internet relationship in which Adkins made his intentions clear as the two engaged in sexually explicit dialogue. However, the 15 year old girl turned out to be an undercover officer with the Ashland Police Department. Adkins and the undercover officer had been chatting via the Internet since June 28th. Sentencing is set for March 5, 2012.

Man Charged With Double Murder

  • {Southside, West Virginia}...Twenty-eight year old William "Jeff" Crawford and his wife 26 year old Ashley Crawford were last seen together on June 16th at their mobile home on Jeffers Ridge in Southside, Mason County. The following day, the mobile home burned in what investigators call a "suspicious" fire. Cadaver dogs were brought to the area but no trace of human remains were found. A few days later, Jeff's mother reported him missing and Ashley's mother reported her missing. Ashley was last seen on an ATV with her cousin, 27 year old Tonda Nelson. Nelson, who was reported missing two days after the couple. West Virginia State Police took over the case in July, and, on July 26, Sgt. E.B. Starcher confirmed the bodies of Ashley Baird Crawford and Tonda Nelson were found near Duncan Creek in Gallipolis Ferry. Tuesday, murder warrants were issued for William Crawford a witness came forward on July 28th and told police they witnessed Jeff Crawford murder his wife and her cousin. Crawford has been charged with two counts of murder. State Police say if anyone is found to be harboring Jeff Crawford, charges will be filed against them. If you know where Jeff Crawford is, call West Virginia State Police at 304-675-0850.

Nitro Police Officer Improving

{Nitro, West Virginia}...Nitro Police Officer Jimmy Lee continues to improve after being hit by a car while directing traffic at the intersection of Cross Lanes Drive and 40th Street in Nitro on Thanksgiving. Lee underwent surgery after he suffered a fractured skull, a blood clot on his brain and severe blood loss. He was placed on a ventilator. Lee has been moved to a step-down unit and will be transferred to the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries.

Former St. Albans Business Owner's Sentence Suspended

{St. Albans, West Virginia}...William Gregory Davis, 53, who owned and operated Warehouse Waterbeds in St. Albans since 1981, was arrested earlier this year along with Madeline Joye Clark, 47, of St. Albans, a custodian for the Kanawha County school board. Davis was arrested for operating a meth lab in 2006 but was never indicted. Davis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make methamphetamine and was sentenced Tuesday to one to three years in jail, but Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey agreed to suspend the sentence if Davis completes two years of probation and the day report program.

Charleston CVB Board Fires President

{Charleston, West Virginia}...During a special meeting Wednesday morning, the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau Board voted to fire President and CEO Patty Bradley who was placed on paid administrative leave in late November following the arrest of 38 year old Tracie Breedlove Dennis. Dennis was arrested in mid November and charged with forgery and uttering and embezzlement. The Convention and Visitors Bureau's annual budget is about $1.5 million. Police say $100,000 to $237,000 may be missing from its accounts. Board members say Bradley is not suspected of taking any money. CVB communications and operations director Jama Jarrett has been named interim director.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MSHA Releases UBB Report

{Beaver,  West Virginia}...Tuesday, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration released its report on the April 5, 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion. The report concluded that the root cause of the explosion was the, "unlawful policies and practices," implemented by Performance Coal Co. and Massey Energy. The report accuses Massey of promoting and enforcing a workplace culture that valued production over safety while attempting to hide noncompliance with federal and state regulations. The investigation found that the explosion was caused by a methane ignition that transitioned into a small methane explosion that then set off a massive coal dust explosion that could have been prevented. MSHA says the mine lacked working methane gas detection methods and proper ventilation. Other findings state that Massey established a system to give warning when safety inspectors were headed to the mine, kept two sets of safety and health hazard books for the mine and let the conditions at the mine deteriorate. MSHA issued 369 citations and orders, including 21 flagrant violations, and announced it issued a fine of nearly $11 million for violations related to the explosion. That's the largest fine in MSHA history. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka says corporate greed caused the explosion, and those responsible should face stiff penalties. Trumpka said Tuesday's announcement of a $200 million global settlement of civil and criminal penalties against the company is a welcome beginning, but it is far from the end of the justice those 29 miners, and their families, deserve, and the only way to make a real down payment on justice is to ensure the guilty serve appropriately stiff jail sentences. United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts says responsibility should be on upper-level management at Massey who created the safety-last culture at the company, and the UMW firmly believes the evidence is there for such criminal prosecution, and until someone goes to jail, there will be no justice.

Mother And Daughter Found Dead

  • {Hamlin, West Virginia}...Police in Lincoln County are investigating after Rebecca Sue May, 37, and her daughter, 9 year old Mackenzie Gene Haynes, both of Hamlin, were found dead inside a car in a creek along W.Va. 34 near the Putnam County border about 9:00 P.M. Monday night. Police say the mother and daughter were both wearing seatbelts, and alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor. Police are attempting to determine the time of the crash and what caused it.

Logan County Man Sentenced On Drug Charge

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Dennis J. Cooper also known as “P.J.,” 36, of Verdunville, in Logan County, has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison on federal drug charges for conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone. Cooper admitted that, from May 2009 until March 29, 2010, he was involved in a drug trafficking organization that distributed Oxycodone in and around Mud Fork and Verdunville. Cooper also admitted to selling Oxycodone to an informant on different occasions.

MSHA/Alpha Natural Resources Reach Agreement

{Charleston, West Virginia}...The Upper Big Branch mine was owned by Massey Energy when 29 miners were killed and two others were injured, but it was recently purchased by Alpha Natural Resources. Tuesday, Alpha reached an agreement with federal investigators to spend $209 million in fines, victim restitution and mine safety programs. The agreement includes $46.5 million in criminal restitution to the UBB miners' families, $128 million to fund mine safety upgrades, research and training and $34.8 million in penalties for federal mine safety violations. Alpha will also place $48 million in a research trust, and dedicate $80 million to improve safety at all of its underground mines with newer technology and equipment. Part of the settlement includes a requirement to audit its underground mines and address any violations or errors within 90 days. The deal would resolve any liability on behalf of the company, but individual officers and employees of Massey would still be exposed to criminal charges.

Romney Announces WV Campaign Team

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has announced his 2012 seventy-six member campaign steering committee for West Virginia. Romney is touting more than 75 endorsements from Mountain State Republicans well in advance of the state's May 8th primary. The list includes 14 county GOP chairs and several legislators and other elected officials. Bill Phillips will head Romney's West Virginia campaign. Phillips chaired President George W. Bush’s 2000 West Virginia campaign and served as chief of staff to former governor Cecil H. Underwood. He also aided Romney's 2008 campaign in the state.

Mingo Logan Coal Company Agrees To Fine

{Logan, West Virginia}...The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says Mingo Logan Coal Company is agreeing to pay $350,000 in penalties for unpermitted mine discharges into Proctor Hollow and Buffalo Creek in Logan County in 2009. Under the consent decree, the coal company does not admit liability for any alleged violations. The proposed settlement would direct $300,000 to a state fund dedicated to stream restoration. The remaining $50,000 would be given over five years to the Buffalo Creek Watershed Association. Mingo Logan Coal is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Inmate Accused Of Attempting To Sell Drugs

{Charleston, West Virginia}...State Police say Joseph Duane Thomas, 24, of Elkview, attempted to bring prescription pills and synthetic marijuana into South Central Regional Jail to sell to his cellmate, Greg Allen Burdette, 34, of Charleston, who is serving two to ten years for a malicious wounding charge after pleading guilty last month to beating a homeless, wheelchair-bound man during a feud that started over an accusation of stolen cigarettes. Thomas is accused of placing a baggie on the window seal of the jail's booking room when he reported for the weekend. Corrections officers say they opened the baggie and found several pills, synthetic marijuana, rolling papers, matches and cigarettes.

Big East Moves To Dismiss WVU Lawsuit

  • {Morgantown,  West Virginia}...Monday, lawyers for the Big East moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed in Morgantown in which the West Virginia University Mountaineers want to quit the conference immediately, rather than waiting 27 months, to join the Big 12 in time for the 2012 season. WVU argues the conference had violated its fiduciary responsibility to members by failing to balance the number of football-playing and non-football schools. But the Big East says the bylaws have no such responsibility, so WVU can't challenge them on that front. The bylaws do, however, require WVU to stay in the conference until July 2014. The Big East contends WVU should be required to abide by the rules that it helped draft and repeatedly agreed to and says, if they don't, it's the conference, not WVU, that would suffer "irreparable harm." WVU is set to respond with its own filings by Friday.

Poll Not Favorable For President Barack Obama

{Charleston, West Virginia}...A phone poll conducted by Mark Blankenship Enterprises between November 30th and December 1st of 400 registered voters shows seven in ten West Virginia voters believe U.S. Senator Joe Manchin deserves to be re-elected. The poll shows he receives strong support across the board, 77% from Democrats, 61% from Republicans and 66% from Independents. The poll shows less than one in three West Virginia voters believe President Barack Obama deserves to be re-elected. His numbers among Democrats show only 41% believe he should be re-elected, while 62% of voters believe its time to give someone new a chance.

Charleston Man Sentenced

  • {Charleston, West Virginia}...Emanuel Armond McCarty, 25, of Charleston, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jerome Grady who was shot twice as he drove his minivan on Madison Street on the West Side of Charleston on March 9th. In 2007, McCarty was shot in the head near a Seventh Avenue bar and critically injured along with Desmond Clark who is now serving a life sentence for shooting his girlfriend at a Patrick Street Taco Bell. McCarty's attorney, Dennis Bailey, told Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib prior to sentencing that the defendant was left brain-damaged by the shooting.

Charleston Firefighters Protest

{Charleston, West Virginia}...Charleston Fire Department Captain Leland Brown and dozens of other firefighters protested outside Charleston City Hall Monday because they say staffing issues have created serious safety gaps. causing their safety to take a backseat to budgeting. Firefighters say city leaders want to cut companies down to two-man companies, while shutting down ladder trucks and rescue trucks which has proven in the past to cause a serious safety issue for firefighters and citizens. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says Charleston's Fire Department is a financial mess, and cuts are necessary, but citizens have nothing to be worried about because they are going to be taken care of.

Deer Hunter Fatally Shot

{Gap Mills, West Virginia}...The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says 18 year old Travis B. Smith of Waynesboro was fatally shot when a rifle discharged as his father, 37 year old Thomas Scott Wright of Fisherville, Virginia was unloading it while they were deer hunting about 2:00 P.M. Saturday near Gap Mills in southeastern West Virginia.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

UBB Probe Leaves Unanswered Questions

  • {Washington, D.C.}...Federal regulators are preparing to issue their final investigation report on the April 5, 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men. Mine Safety and Health Administration officials plan to brief the miners' families on their final conclusions Tuesday in Beaver. MSHA has long blamed methane gas, coal dust and broken equipment for the deadliest mine disaster in four decades. As they wrap up their probe, federal regulators face unanswered questions regarding what Massey Energy board members were told about persistent safety problems at the mine and whether serious explosion hazards were corrected. In late October, MSHA officials conducted a secret interview with Joe Pavlovich, a longtime MSHA inspector and supervisor who warned Massey officials at least three times in the year before the disaster that Upper Big Branch wasn't properly cleaning up accumulations of explosive coal dust. According to court documents and other records, investigators have been given conflicting accounts of whether hazards identified by Pavlovich were ever fixed, and that some reports to Massey board members who served on a special safety committee appear to have downplayed those warnings. During a meeting November 9, 2009, Massey vice president for safety Elizabeth Chamberlin assured board members that Pavlovich's audits showed safety conditions and practices at Massey mines were improving. November 10th, Pavlovich made a repeat visit to Upper Big Branch, where he had been in April and October, and found poor rock-dusting practices each time. "The entire longwall section belt needs to be rock dusted," Pavlovich said in a report on the November 10th inspection. That was the last time Pavlovich ever inspected Upper Big Branch.