Breaking Local News
More than a dozen people have applied to become the next executive director of the West Virginia Ethics Commission. Commissioner Betty Ireland is chairwoman of the commission's personnel committee. She tells The Charleston Gazette that the committee is interviewing 15 applicants from a wide range of legal backgrounds. State law requires the executive director to be a lawyer and a member of the West Virginia bar for at least five years. The commission fired former executive director Joan Parker on June 5. Charleston attorney Rebecca Stepto has been serving as interim executive director.
Streams and lakes across West Virginia will be stocked with about 42,000 pounds of trout during the next two weeks. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources began its fall trout stockings on Tuesday. Trout stockings will continue next week. Nine lakes and 25 streams will be stocked. Wildlife resources chief Curtis Taylor says in a news release that information about trout stockings will be posted first on the DNR's Facebook page at 2:30 p.m. each day. The information will be posted on the DNR's website, www.wvdnr.gov , and on the Fishing Hotline, 304-558-3399, an hour later.
An Oct. 27 swearing-in ceremony is set for Mingo County's new family court judge. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Sabrina L. Deskins to the position last month, and the swearing-in ceremony will be held at noon on Oct. 27 in the main courtroom of the Mingo County Courthouse in Williamson. Deskins will complete the remainder of Miki Thompson's term. Gov. Tomblin appointed Thompson in July to replace former Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury. Thornsbury resigned and pleaded guilty in October 2013 to a federal conspiracy charge stemming from a corruption probe.
A Dunbar man reported missing last week still has not been found. The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office and Kanawha Bureau of Investigation are investigating the disappearance of Daryl Smith of Dunbar, who has actually been missing since October 1st. Cpl B.D Humphreys says cases like this are investigated as homicides until the facts prove otherwise, and this disappearance is considered suspicious. Detectives have strong leads in the case and have executed several search warrants. Forensic evidence is being examined and tested, but if you have tips you're asked to call 304-357-0169 or submit a tip at www.kanawhasheriff.us.
The group African American Philanthropy in Action formed a little over a year ago, made up of lawyers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and community leaders who pool donations together and decide together where the funds will be put to best use. The Charleston Gazette says less than a year after it began fundraising, AAPA has accrued more than $16,000 That's an amount that would normally take two or three years to raise for similar groups. The AAPA plans to give a $5,000 grant to a local nonprofit group, and they're taking applications until Nov. 1. To apply, visit www.tgkvf.org.
A man who was retried and found guilty of murder in his girlfriend's shooting death after an appellate court threw out his original conviction will argue in court today that because of double jeopardy protections, he should be freed. Robert Frazier was tried in 2010 on charges that he murdered his live-in girlfriend, Kathryn Smith, at their home near Huntington. Frazier claimed innocence, arguing that he and Smith had been fighting, that Smith aimed a shotgun at him, and that she was accidentally shot in the face when he tried to wrestle the weapon from her. His murder conviction was overturned in 2010 and retried in 2013, and convicted again. Today in West Virginia's Supreme Court of Appeals, Frazier - represented by Kanawha County Deputy Public Defender Crystal L. Walden - will argue that the retrial amounted to double jeopardy and that his second conviction should also be overturned. The double jeopardy principal prevents defendants from being tried for the same crime twice.
It's been a year since financial trouble led to the Putnam County Health Department to lay off all of it's staff, but things have improved since then. Now the agency may get a new full-time manager of day-to-day operations. Lolita Kirk has been dividing her time as local health administrator for both the Kanawha-Charleston and Putnam health departments since the layoffs, and the Charleston Gazette reports the new manager position will be posted for applicants next week. The new administrator could be hired by the end of the year. The position will report directly to Dr. Rahul Gupta, the health officer and executive director for both the Putnam and Kanawha-Charleston departments.
Hospitals are double checking their emergency preparedness plans to know how to handle a possible ebola patient if one should need treatment. Cabell Huntington Hospital, Charleston Area Medical Center, King's Daughters Medical Center, and St. Mary's Medical Center all have plans in place to deal with an infectious outbreak. CAMC posted on its Facebook page in August that it has a special ICU designated to care for that person, and there's a team that has volunteered to take care of that patient. There's currently one ebola patient in Nebraska, and one in Dallas, and hospitals across the country are making sure they're prepared, at the advice of the CDC.
A recent advertising campaign is sparking a large uptick in unclaimed property claims in West Virginia. State Treasurer John Perdue's Unclaimed Property Division wrapped up its most recent campaign Friday, and the campaign led to increased phone and online activity from those seeking to see if they have unclaimed property. The treasurer's office also made plans to hold another online auction of items left behind in safe deposit boxes or items seized in law enforcement arrests. The most recent auction runs until Oct. 23.
West Virginia State University has raised more than $10 million as part of its first-ever capital campaign. The campaign was launched in 2010 but has since been re-launched upon the hiring of president Brian Hemphill. The Charleston Gazette reports the school in Institute also has set a new fundraising goal of $18 million by the year 2017. Funds go toward scholarships, academic programs, faculty support, campus improvements and other initiatives.