Breaking Local News

Methane Rule Stalls Out

That protest related to Patriot Coal's bankruptcy this week had an impact on a rule on methane in West Virginia mines. Three members of the state Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety were in St. Louis for the protest and missed a meeting. The State Journal reports that kept the board from reaching a quorum, and therefore a decision on a rule that could strengthen limits on methane gas levels in coal mines. Board administrator Joel Watts says the rule may have stalled even if they'd been present. Federal rules require mining equipment to shut down at methane concentrations of 2 percent or more. Proposed state regulations would cut that to 1.25 percent if the levels are sustained. There's still come debate of the definition of "sustained" too.

Warrant Roundup Leads to Several Arrests

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office made a dozen arrestsThursday during a domestic violence and family law warrant sweep. A news release from the sheriff's office says two people from Dunbar were arrested for failing to pay child support, along with one person from Nitro and two from Sissonville. Three people from South Charleston were arrested on domestic violence charges, along with one person from Institute and one from Sissonville.

Trial Date Set for Dunbar Shooting

A trial date has been set for a man accused of shooting down another man in West Dunbar. 21-year old Franklin Beverly reportedly confessed to shooting 21-year old Joe Green at a Smoot Avenue apartment back in October. Beverly's trial date is set for March 4.

Nitro City Councilman Steps Down

Nitro City Councilman Craig Matthews is leaving. Matthews is a Charleston firefighter serving his second term on the Nitro council and said he will be resigning his seat at the next city council meeting. He recently got married and had a baby earlier this month. His new wife lives in Putnam County, and he's been dividing his time between his parents' home in Nitro, his new wife's home in Putnam County, and the Charleston fire station. Nitro's city charter requires council members to live within city limits and Matthews said he will be moving full-time to Putnam County.

Veterans Memorial Draws Attention

The fact that there a NO lights has drawn the spotlight. The West Virginia Veterans Memorial at the Capitol Complex has been without floodlights and walkway lights for some time because of an electrical problem. Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown told the Charleston Daily Mail the electrical panel may have been impacted by leaking rainwater, but it's in a confined space and it's hard to tell for sure. A contractor is coming in to look at the problem. One Air Force veteran says a darkened memorial is disrespectful to veterans.

Officers Looking for Meth Suspect

Two men are in trouble after deputies found evidence of a meth lab at the Pine Valley Trailer Park in Sissonville. Shane Steven Thaxton was on home confinement after a conviction for attempting to operate a meth lab and wasn't home when deputies arrived. His home confinement officer was one of those there looking for him. After evidence of a meth lab was found, Jamie Lee Harmon, another resident, was arrested. Officers are still looking for Shane Thaxton, and anyone with information is asked to call 304-357-0169.

Coal Outlook is Positive

The National Mining Association says things are looking up for the coal mining industry. President Hal Quinn says improvement in new-home construction and car sales in the U.S. are good signs, and global demand for coal and other natural resources will continue, espcially in developing countries. Quinn says coal is on track to become the world's primary energy source, surpassing oil by 2015. In the U.S., total coal consumption is expected to grow by 50 million tons over last year, due in part to cooler weather and natural gas prices that the Energy Information Administration predicts will jump 22 percent.

WV Families Picket in Missiouri

Some families from West Virginia picketed in St. Louis Tuesday to draw attention to concerns of the coal industry. About 175 coal mining families from West Virginia and other mining states including Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio picketed outside the federal building and the Peabody Energy headquarters. Ten people were arrested for obstructing traffic, and there's no word if those people were from West Virginia or from other states. The United Mine Workers of America wants to salvage health care benefits for retirees and widows after Patriot Coal's bankruptcy. The union blames Peabody Energy for the bankruptcy. A judge moved Patriot's case to St. Louis in November. An $802 million financing package is letting it continue operating while it restructures.

Fugitive from Texas Caught in South Charleston

Detectives from the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office and the South Charleston Police Department found and arrested a fugitive Monday. 37-year old James Earl Davis was wanted for failure to appear on a charge of possession of a controlled substance in Belle County, Texas. He was taken into custody as he left his job in South Charleston. While living and working in South Charleston detectives say he used the alias of Robderick Detoti Mitchell, and they discovered forged documents related to the false identity. He'll be extradicted to Texas.

Police Catch Max's Place Robbery Suspect

Detectives used surveillance video to identify a robbery suspect and make an arrest. Troy White is facing charges for smashing a cash register and grabbing money at Max's Place in Kanawha City Monday evening. White is charged with armed robbery and was arraigned before a magistrate late Tuesday night.

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