Breaking Local News
It's illegal to text in a vehicle, even if you're stopped at a stoplight. It's okay to dial the phone to call someone while you're sitting at the light, but no texting. A state law making texting while driving a primary offense went into effect July 1. Talking on a cellphone while driving was made a secondary offense then, and beginning July 1, 2013 you'll have to have a hands free device to talk on a cell phone in the car. Police say despite the new laws in effect, they're still noticing a problem with texting while driving. Fines for first offenses are $50; for second offenses, $100; and for third and subsequent offenses, $200.
Federal prosecutors say former Lincoln County sheriff Jerry Bowman was a big help during the investigation into an election fraud scheme, and because of that he may get a break when he's sentenced for his role in it. Bowman has pleaded guilty to conspiring to influence outcomes with fraudulent absentee ballots. Bowman apparently helped prosecutors convince Lincoln County Commissioner Thomas Ramey to resign and plead guilty for his role. Bowman is scheduled to be sentenced today along with co-conspirator and ex-Lincoln County Clerk Donald Whitten.
Nitro continues to remember a beloved soccer coach. Assistant coach Dick Green died Saturday after suffering a massive heart attack at the age of 57. The Nitro girls are just a few games into the soccer season and wanted to do something to honor the late coach, so Monday night a large crowd gathered at mid field of Nitro High School's soccer field to light a candle in honor of Green. he was a coach for many years in Putnam County.
A violent and tragic incident Tuesday night at the Wallback park and ride off Interstate 79 left one State Police trooper dead. Two troopers were conducting a traffic stop near the Roane-Clay county border, when the suspect reportedly pulled out a gun and shot both officers and the driver of a wrecker. The other trooper is in critical condition. A Roane County sheriff's deputy who tracked the suspect down after he fled on foot was also injured by a bullet, but suffered non-life threatening injuries. The suspect was eventually shot and killed, and the wounded were taken to CAMC General Hospital. The investigation is underway, and more information should be released today.
TRG Customer Solutions is based in Jacksonville, Florida, but West Virginia call centers are about to add jobs. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that TRG will add 130 jobs and fill 195 vacant positions here, including 100 new hires at the company's Beckley call center, 125 in Charleston and 100 in Elkins. To apply, contact Workforce West Virginia offices, employment recruiters, or go to TRG's website. TRG outsources customer management and technologies and has about five thousand employees worldwide.
The fall semester is underway at Mountain State. Students headed back to campus Monday, and then many of them may become University of Charleston students. UC agreed to take over the school in January, after Mountain State loses accreditation December 31. UC will assist Mountain State during this fall semester, and will continue some Mountain State programs next spring. Students who have enough credits to graduate this fall can do so with either Mountain State or the University of Charleston on their diploma. Fifty one academic programs have been approved now by the Higher Learning Commission for the teach out plan that allows students to stay in Beckley. There are about 550 students enrolled this fall.
Police are still investigating a Dunbar break-in that happened early Sunday. A man and woman who lived at a home on Moore Avenue in Dunbar were attacked by three men and a woman who police say forced their way into the home. Cash and other items were taken, and the woman was sexually assaulted and the man beaten, according to police. Police think it's an isolated incident that the couple may have been targeted for valuables in the home. Dunbar is usually much quieter on the crime scene, and police have no reason to believe others are in danger. Dunbar police are investigating all leads now and appreciate any tips.
Two people were hurt Sunday in a traffic accident in Buckhannon, and a man was arrested for DUI afterward. The accident happened at the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and Vegan Road, and 55-year old Ronald Deuley of Ellamore is accused of pulling out in front of the car that hit him. Deuley was arrested for his third driving under the influence offense in the past 10 years, according to police. The other two men in Deuley's vehicle were injured. The driver of the other car was not hurt.
Some say new regulations proposed by the State Fire Commission would be too expensive for volunteer fire departments, and could hurt their ability to function. The proposed rules would force adoption of more than 90 standards and require stricter training and certification processes. Late last week the Charleston Civic Center hsoted a forum for concerned volunteer firefighters to speak out against the proposed changes. The state code is not something that can be ignored. Each violation is a misdemeanor crime that costs $100 per infraction per day.
If you have good photos of wildflowers, those could end up in a new state calendar. The latest "Roadsides in Bloom" calendar is being put together now, and the state departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation are sponsoring. Photos should be submitted by October 1, and then judges will pick 12 for the calendar. The grand prize winner will get the front cover.
The rules of the contest are available through the Adopt-a-Highway program.