Breaking Local News

DMV Leader is Stepping Down

Acting West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Steve Dale is stepping down at the end of the year after 32 years working for the DMV in different capacities. He has served as acting commissioner since January 2013 and his retirement is effective Dec. 31. Dale tells The Charleston Gazette he plans to look for a job in the private sector. Last month, the DMV received a national award for beginning a program that allows people to renew vehicle registrations online. Customers also can search for license plate information, check the status of their driver's licenses and pay license reinstatement fees online.

Clay Center Has A New CEO

There's a new leader at the Clay Center. Al Najjar was picked as the new president and CEO Thursday. The Charleston Gazette reports Najjar is the former leader of the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa, Florida, and was attracted to the Clay Center for the way it appreciates how the sciences, performing arts, and visual arts are combined. His first day is March 1st.

Charleston Police Investigate Possible Kidnapping

A 20-year old woman in Charleston may have been kidnapped last night, and Charleston Police are investigating. Officers say the women told someone at the Jet Stop Marathon Gas Station in the 800 block of Greenbrier Street that she'd been kidnapped, and then a man came out of the store and drove off with her in the car. It was a newer model brown or copper colored sedan with license plates IOU 660. The driver is described as 5'7" tall white male. He was wearing a black ball cap, a blue button-up shirt and black dress pants. Charleston police are checking surveillance video and sending out national alerts. If you have information, call 911.

Former Massey CEO Wants Trial Date Changed

Longtime Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship wants his trial delayed. He's facing criminal charges that he conspired to violate mine safety rules and hamper federal safety enforcement at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine, after a 2010 explosion killed 29 workers. Blankenship's trial is scheduled to start January 26th, but his lawyer has filed a motion to vacate the trial date, reset deadlines for pretrial motions, and set a scheduling conference. Earlier this week, The Charleston Gazette and other news organizations filed a motion seeking to intervene and ask the judge to remove the gag order in place. Blankenship has pleaded not guilty and is out of jail on bond.

Invasive Species DNA Found in Kanawha River

Water samples taken from the Ohio and Kanawha rivers have tested positive for Asian carp environmental DNA, which is genetic material released into the environment by an organism. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources says the test results aren't proof of the invasive species' presence in the rivers. The DNA could have been transported by boats, birds or other means. The DNR said Wednesday in a news release that fisheries biologists collected the samples in July from two Ohio River navigational pools in Hancock, Ohio and Brooke counties, and from the Kanawha River in Putnam and Kanawha counties. Samples also were collected from the Little Kanawha River in Wood and Wirt counties.

Arch Coal Continues Appeals Over Strip Mine Permit

Arch Coal is continuing to fight a 2011 veto of a West Virginia strip mining permit. Late last month in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Arch's Mingo Logan Coal Co. subsidiary filed an appeal notice for the Spruce No. 1 mine case. In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency retroactively vetoed the mine's permit, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued four years earlier. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson later ruled the agency overstepped its authority. In April 2013, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled EPA acted within its authority. The court denied St. Louis-based Arch's motion to rehear the case in July 2013. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Arch's appeal to reinstate the Logan County mine's permit.

Charleston Police Investigate Possible Kidnapping

A 20-year old woman in Charleston may have been kidnapped last night, and Charleston Police are investigating. Officers say the women told someone at the Jet Stop Marathon Gas Station in the 800 block of Greenbrier Street that she'd been kidnapped, and then a man came out of the store and drove off with her in the car. It was a newer model brown or copper colored sedan with license plates IOU 660. The driver is described as 5'7" tall white male. He was wearing a black ball cap, a blue button-up shirt and black dress pants. Charleston police are checking surveillance video and sending out national alerts. If you have information, call 911.

During Heavy Delivery Time of Year, Package is Swiped from Local Porch

A couple that had been out of town returned to their home on Twin Lakes Drive in Cross Lanes Sunday to discover that a package that had been delivered was missing. The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says security cameras caught a white female with medium length blonde hair stealing the packages and a wreath from the front door of the home. She drove a dark colored BMW. Deputies are investigating and are accepting tips at http://www.kanawhasheriff.us/law-enforcement/tips/, or by phone at 304-357-0169. The victim also posted the surveillance video on Facebook.

Kanawha County Mother Found Safe

Kanawha County deputies had been looking for 20-year old Nikki Morgan, who hadn't been seen for nearly a month. She was last seen at Kroger's on the west side of Charleston, and she left in a vehicle while her parents were buying groceries, but after a public appeal for help finding her, the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says she has been found safe. She has a toddler son that turns two next week.

Man Sentenced After Stabbing At A High School Football Game

A Randolph County man has been sentenced to up to 30 years in prison in the fatal stabbing of another person outside a high school stadium before a football game. Nineteen-year-old Thomas Chevy Vas of Dailey pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday, a day after jury selection began in Randolph County Circuit Court. A judge accepted the guilty plea and sentenced him. Vas had been charged with felony murder in the October 2012 stabbing of 17-year-old Dustin White after a stabbing outside Tygarts Valley High School's stadium about 20 minutes before a football game between Tygarts Valley and Hundred High School. Vas and White both were Tygarts Valley students.

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