Breaking Local News
A new bridge at Coonskin Park might be financed with a bond. If state officials close off Coonskin Drive to the public, the bridge would be necessary for access to the park, and it would cost around $9 million. Retired adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, Allen Tackett, says federal funding for the bridge project doesn't appear to be an option, but it may be possible to acquire a bond. The Charleston Gazette reports since National Guard aircraft are kept at Yeager Airport, Tackett will suggest National Guard officials ask the Yeager airport board, the Kanawha County Commission and the city of Charleston to each contribute $100,000 a year to help pay off the bond. The National Guard will pay for the rest. We reported earlier this week Tackett's estimate that the $9 million Coonskin bridge could help save the economic impact of an $89 million facitlity. The details lie in the balance.
A motion by the state Department of Health and Human Resources to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit has been rejected. Attorneys Susan Perry and Jennifer Taylor filed the suits in October, citing damage to their professional reputations, among other things after they raised concerns over the way a multimillion-dollar advertising contract was awarded. Perry and Taylor, along with DHHR communications director John Law, were placed on administrative reassignment initially. Then Law and Taylor were later fired. Perry is still on reassignment. Given the latest action by the judge, those lawsuits will continue.
A man accused of a child abduction and rape has turned himself in. Police say Bradley Price turned himself in Wednesday afternoon, after an incident April 10th where a 13-year old girl was kidnapped near a bus stop at Central Avenue and Russell Street. The criminal complaint says the girl was driven around for hours, then taken to the Knights in in Kanawha City and sexually assaulted. Price was charged with two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and one count of abduction.
It will be easier for West Virginians to register to vote for the next election. And the list of who can vote should be more accurate because of two bills recently passed at the urging of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. You'll be able to register to vote online if you have a digital signature on file with a state agency, like the Division of Motor Vehicles. Another bill makes it easier for county clerks to clear those who have passed away from voting lists. Currently a clerk needs an official obituary, a death certificate or a sworn statement from a family member to remove someone from a voting list. Clerks will now be able to use "other writings" like a newspaper article or a message from the post office.
The former director of Multifest will spend nearly two years behind bars after admitting to stealing more than $300,000 while she was in charge of revenue and expenses. According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, 55-year old Deborah Starks of Cross Lanes, admitted that she failed to report more than half a million dollars of income on her taxes. More than $300,000 of that unreported income was money she stole from Multifest,” according to Goodwin. The news release says Starks admitted the embezzlement happened between 2005 and 2010 through personal checks to herself and to other people. She also used cash and ATM transactions from MultiFest bank accounts. In addition to the two-year prison term, Starks was ordered to pay restitution to MultiFest and back taxes to the IRS.
Flags are at half staff again today, after the order from President Obama. Flags at the White House and all government buildings are to be flown at half-staff in honor of the Boston Marathon explosion victims, effective through sunset Saturday. The President signed the order as a "mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence" perpetrated in Boston the previous day.
A Kanawha County man is going to prison on child pornography charges. 42-year old Michael Lee McCormick was sentenced earlier this week in Federal Court, to two years behind bars. McCormick pleaded guilty back in November, admitting that he downloaded images and sent them to other people. Police say there were more than 600 pornographic images. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is seeking tips on a home invasion style robbery that happened early Monday. It happened in the 5300 block of Raven Drive in Rand, and Corporal BD Humphreys says four people were inside the home at the time. All sustained minor injuries and some said they were struck with pistols. Deputies interviewed victims and witnesses, and said three suspects - possibly two males and one female - were wearing ski masks and dark clothing, and were armed with guns. They left with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact him at the Kanawha Bureau of Investigation at 304-357-0156 or submit a tip on our agency’s website, www.kanawhasheriff.us. Tips can be submitted anonymously.
Local Kanawha Valley runners took part in yesterday's Boston Marathon, and all are apparently okay after the horrific explosion near the finish line just over four hours into the race. WCHS TV reports Adam Coon, the cross country coach at Sherman High School in Boone County took part in the race and finished 107th out of 27,000 runners, and had finished and was back at the hotel when the explosions happened. The Boston Marathon's website said there were 46 runners from West Virginia competing in the race.
A woman accused of hitting a state trooper with her vehicle last fall, entered her plea Monday. Jennifer Garretson faces a malicious wounding charge, along with petty larceny after an incident where she left a St. Albans store parking lot, and hit the officer on the way out, trying to escape after being accused of shoplifting. Garretson pleaded not guilty, and will go on trial August 5th. Garretson is still in jail on an alleged parole violation. The trooper is still recovering, and having issues after being hit.