Breaking Local News
A former case worker for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is facing up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to fraud. Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Shannon Collins of Logan pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston after being accused of using the Social Security numbers of two dead people to open fake accounts in order to claim benefits. She did that while working at the agency office in Logan and also obtained benefits through the state's food stamp program. The total combined loss was in excess of $58,000. Sentencing is set for Oct. 29.
A bankruptcy hearing yesterday involved a $2.9 million settlement with Freedom Industries' s insurer, AIG, and under a tentative deal the insurance money would go for public projects. Several businesses sued to recoup money they lost while shuttered for days in January after the chemical spill. But a federal bankruptcy judge refused to sign off on the deal after lawyers for ex-Freedom executive Dennis Farrell and other shareholders complained. They contend the policy covers all their civil legal expenses no matter what the cost but the deal doesn't go that far. WCHS TV reports the judge gave both sides time to work it out or he'll decide.
Ohio health officials are advising Ohio patients of a clinic in West Virginia to be tested for some infectious diseases. The Ohio Department of Health said Monday that an investigation by West Virginia health officials found possible unsafe injection practices at Valley Pain Management in McMechen (muhk-MAY'-kuhn). The Ohio agency says in a news release that patients potentially were exposed to infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. According to the Ohio agency, the West Virginia investigation found that the clinic re-used needles and syringes. The investigation also found that the same pain medication vial was used for multiple patients.
A bridge in Randolph County has been renamed in honor of a soldier who was killed in the Vietnam War. The former Becky's Creek Bridge near Huttonsville is now the U.S. Army Sgt. Cecil W. Kittle Memorial Bridge. The Inter-Mountain says Kittle was a member of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. He was killed on Nov. 17, 1965, while participating in an operation to take troops to a clearing in the La Drang Valley. During the bridge renaming process, officials discovered that Kittle had been approved for a Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguished "V'' Device and a Combat Infantryman Badge and the medals have been presented to his family.
West Virginia Democrats said Republican state Del. Suzette Raines doesn't live where she claims and shouldn't be on the November ballot. They also want GOP House of Delegates hopeful Melissa Lewis off the ballot. The state Democratic Executive Committee filed complaints Monday in Kanawha and Preston circuit courts. Democrats said Raines doesn't live at her listed St. Albans address, hasn't filed campaign finance reports and a financial disclosure, and didn't sign previous disclosures. They said Lewis switched from Democrat to Republican five days before filing. State law allows only switches more than 60 days before filing. Democrats claim she lived outside Preston-based District 52 within a year of November's election, making her ineligible. Raines is seeking a second term in Kanawha-based District 35.
A man accused of killing an elderly man is facing up to life in prison after pleading guilty Monday to first-degree murder charges. 90-year old George Molle Jr. died from blunt force trauma at his home in January, and 40-year old Anthony Caldwell said in court Monday that he killed Molle with a hammer. The guilty plea was part of a plea deal that will lead to robbery and other charges being dropped. Caldwell will be sentenced in September, and could receive life in prison with mercy, which would make him eligible for parole in 15 years.
Demolition continues at Freedom Industries as storage tanks responsible for spilling crude MCHM are torn down. The tanks leaked 10,000 gallons of crude MCHM in January into the soil and it eventually got to the Elk River and contaminated the water supply. Now every time it rains, the stormwater runoff becomes tainted. WCHS TV reports the water is being trucked out of state for disposal, but negotiations are under way between Freedom and the Charleston Sanitary Board that would lead to treating the water in Charleston. The water would go through a North Charleston sewage treatment plant and then be released into the Kanawha River. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones supports it, and said the sewage treatment plant already treated slightly tainted MCHM water when the entire water system was flushed after the leak.
At least $2.9 million could fuel studies in a proposed settlement between West Virginia businesses and residents and Freedom Industries. The deal between lawyers for Freedom Industries and businesses and people who sued Freedom was filed Friday in Charleston federal court. It needs approval in both U.S. district and bankruptcy court. The agreement would settle 24 lawsuits against Freedom after several businesses sued to recoup profits lost during the water crisis. The money would come from Freedom's insurance policy. A board will decide how to spend it, with long-term health studies a possibility.
Southern West Virginia is seeing an abundance of eagles. The Charleston Gazette reports that birders and naturalists have confirmed the presence of five new bald eagle nests in Summers and Greenbrier counties. The nests include three newly hatched eaglets. Some of the nests were spotted during an annual spring nesting survey conducted by volunteer birders and boaters. About 30 nesting pairs of bald eagles are known to exist throughout West Virginia. They can be found primarily in the Potomac River headwaters region, the eastern mountains and along the Ohio River. The newborn southern West Virginia eagles are getting out of their nests and learning to fly.
Maybe you've been driving on Interstate 64 recently and you've seen the car ahead of you sweve and correct to get back between the lines...that's exactly the kind of thing that State Police are watching for as they crack down on distracted driving. If the swerve was related to texting and driving, that driver can get a ticket as West Virginia teams up with police in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana to try to put a stop to distracted driving. It's illegal in West Virginia to use your cell phone, unless you have a hands free device.