Breaking Local News
Is there more to the story of Shawn Lester? Last week, Lester received the maximum prison sentence for his role in the sniper style killings in 2003. Lester pleaded guilty in late July to second-degree murder in the death of Jeanie Patton, but charges were dropped related to the deaths of Gary Carrier Jr., and Okey Meadows Jr. as part of a plea agreement. The Gazette reports a source close to the investigation says Lester is also a suspect in a Kentucky homicide. 33-year old Timothy Wayne Sigman was friends with Lester and lived with him around the time of the 2003 killings. His remains were found under the front porch of a home in Willard, KY. Police wonder whether Sigman had knowledge of the sniper killings. The investigation continues.
This is national preparedness month, and local agencies are helping with disaster prep. In Kanawha County, a Sustainable Families Preparedness Fair is scheduled for Sept. 18. The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Charleston Fire Department, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and other agencies will all be there with tips on what to do if disaster leaves you without power, food and other essentials. The preparedness fair will be at the Habitat for Humanity's Homeowner Education & Community Center on 815 Court St. in Charleston from 9 to 3 that day. It's the kind of thing you hope you never need, but as we learned with the June 29 storms, it never hurts to be prepared.
Charleston police are still investigating a mysterious death. A man's body was found Saturday near Magic Island, and police say he wasn't shot or beaten. Somehow the man ended up coming off the Interstate 64 bridge near Magic Island, and landed on the ground north of Kanawha Boulevard between the east and westbound lanes of the interstate. The man is described as a black man in his 20s. Detectives are working to figure out what sent him off the bridge.
We've mentioned before that West Virginia seems to be lacking when it comes to broadband internet access. A Federal Communications Commission study released last month showed that 46 percent of West Virginia residents do not have access to broadband Internet service. A panel discussion during the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce's Business Summit just before the holiday weekend addressed it. Leaders there said the lack of infrastructure presents a problem. It's hard to get high speed access where the wires don't currently exist, and in some cases there is a monopoly with only one provider. Capital and competition are two things that will get the focus as leaders try to increase broadband access.
Charleston Area Medical Center's Women and Children's Hospital has launched something new aimed at preventing child abuse. To increase awareness about shaken baby syndrome, hospital leaders want people to knit, crochet or loom purple newborn caps. Those involved should use the color purple, which has become a symbol for the campaign. The caps must be at least 50 percent purple. You can find out more at www.clickforbabies.org.
The Old Taft elementary school site on Bigley Avenue could become home to a convenience store. The Municipal Planning Commission will take up the zoning requests Wednesday, and if it's approved the former school would be torn down along with four nearby homes and an adjacent Methodist Church that's no longer in use.
A new report came out Saturday from the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, and shows good paying jobs with benefits are still hard to find. The report shows 2010, just 53 percent of workers in West Virginia had employer-covered health insurance policies, down from 73 percent in 1979. Median wages, adjusted for inflation, dropped from 2010 to 2011. Today, they are $15.02 an hour, compared to the national average of $16.06 an hour. Workers between16 and 24 make up less than 15 percent of the workforce, and account for one-third of all unemployed workers.
Officers are looking for a work release inmate who has escaped. Carl Hendershot was serving a sentence in Charleston after being charged with breaking and entering and burglary in Jackson County. He was also charged with manufacturing and delivering of a controlled substance in Wood County. Hendershot is described as 6'1" 178 pounds and has several scars and tattoos. On his right forearm has a tattoo of the grim reaper. On the left, an outline of a skull. Anyone who sees him should call 911.
A Fayette County driver died Friday night after being partially ejected from his vehicle. The Fayette County Sheriff's office says 32-year old Michael Lee Bryson's vehicle struck a guardrail, his vehicle went airborne, and landed over an embankment. Bryson was apparently not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Scammers are trying to capitalize on the deaths of two West VIrginia State police officers who died last week after a shootout in Wallback. Capt. Sean Crosier of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department confirms they've received at least two complaints from people who got suspicious phone calls.
Crosier says no legitimate agency would be asking for a credit card number or cash over the phone. Report the suspicious incidents to police.