Breaking Local News

Sprinkler system douses fire at chemical plant

A fire yesterday at a St. Albans chemical distribution plant was quickly brought under control by the facility's sprinkler system. A blaze broke out at the Brenntag plant on 1st Street and Kanawha County emergency services coordinator, Dale Petry, told the WV Gazette the fire was in a warehouse storage area containing 60 to 70 drums of flammable materials. The company hasn't issued any official comment.

Charleston gets a new Cabela's

The new Cabela's store in Charleston is scheduled to open August 9th with a ribbon cutting. That will kick off a grand opening weekend for hunting and fishing enthusiasts, and is one of six new stores across the country that Cabela's plans to open this year. About 175 workers will be hired. The store is expected to provide another retail boost to the Southridge Shopping Centre that includes Walmart, Sam's Club and several other stores. The Southridge Centre is just off U.S. Highway 119.

West Virginia marine runs across the country

A man who is running across the country to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project will be in Charleston on Sunday. 39-year old former Marine Jamie Summerlin is from Morgantown, but set out on foot in Coos County, Oregon March 26th on a quest to reach Annapolis, MD by July 4th. He covers about 30 miles per day and that will add up to almost 3500 miles when he finally finishes. He's not completely alone on the journey. His family follows behind in an RV. They'll all be in Huntington on Saturday and Charleston on Sunday, then its on to places like Ivydale and Burnsville on the way to Annapolis.

You can follow Summerlin at

Man arrested in connection with Fifth Third Bank robbery

The man accused of robbing the Fifth Third Bank in Kanawha City last week was in court yesterday to hear the depth of the charges against him. It's not just the Fifth Third Banks robbery, but a host of other crimes that Dempsey is accused of, including an assault on three men, including a South Charleston police officer. That happened the day after the alleged robbery. The day before the robbery police allegedly found marijuana plants inside Dempsey's home. He's being held in South Central Regional Jail on a $150,000 cash-only bond. He has two preliminary hearings set. The first will be on Monday for charges that don't include robbery, then June 21 for the robbery charges.

WV consumers charged up to 99 percent interest may find relief

A California company has been accused of illegally charging West Virginia consumers sky high interest rates -- up to 99 percent -- and of having abusive debt-collection practices. The internet lender CashCall was sued in 2008 by West Virginia because the state Attorney General said the company used a bank in South Dakota to get around law in West Virginia that would have protected consumers. The trial wrapped up in February, and the state has been waiting for the judge's ruling since then. It's gained more attention now because the owner of CashCall also owns the famous horse, I'll Have Another, who won this year's Preakness and Kentucky Derby.

Auto pedestrian laws examined by husband of victim

Debbie Cunningham spent more than two weeks in intensive care at Charleston Area Medical Center after being hit by a car four years ago. The injuries have kept her from working and she's still unable to drive, and her husband had to quit his job to take care of her. Greg Cunningham is among the family members asking for changes to laws in West Virginia so pedestrians have better protection. He's started a petition online at and hopes as his wife's story speads, tougher penalties on drivers may result.

Company ordered to pay back wages to Museum project workers

A West Virginia State Museum construction subcontractor appealed after the company was ordered to pay its employees West Virginia prevailing wages. That appeal has been rejected by the state Supreme Court. The ruling upholds a Kanawha Circuit Court ruling ordering Themeworks Inc. of High Springs, Fla., to pay 33 employees over $222,000 in back wages. Employees were paid between $10 and $20 per hour to work on a project at the museum, and a Division of Labor audit in 2009 concluded they should have been paid the state prevailing wage as carpenters, which is $38.06 per hour.

Sentencing delayed for former Lincoln County officials

Two former Lincoln County officials will wait to learn their fate. Sentencing for former Sheriff Jerry Bowman and ex county clerk Donald Whitten will be delayed until later in the summer to give federal prosecutors more time to develop the defendants' cooperation in a vote fraud investigation. The sentencing date had been set for tomorrow, but now it's August 29th. Three months ago Bowman pleaded guilty to conspiring to stuff the primary ballot box while running for circuit clerk, and Whitten pleaded guilty to lying to an investigator for the Secretary of State about it.

Two accidents near Sissonville affect I-77 traffic Monday night

There were two accidents last night on Interstate 77 near Sissonville. A tractor-trailer jackknifed, then there was a rollover crash that shut down both lanes of Interstate 77 at the Edens Fork Road Exit. Both north and southbound traffic was shut down at that exit for a time.

Crash closes part of I-77 Monday night

A semi ran off the road last night on Interstate 77 and landed on New Stone Ridge Road, which had both southbound lanes shut down. The big rig hit an empty SUV that was sitting on the side of the road, then went over the hill and crashed, according to emergency crews. The truck driver was taken to the hospital, and there's no word on his condition.

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