Breaking Local News

Food Band Survives Cash Crunch

Mountaineer Food Bank has survived financial problems that threatened to shut it down. Mountaineer board of directors president Julie Harris attributes the turnaround to support from various sources. She tells The Exponent Telegram that the next step is to hire a permanent executive director and begin a strategic planning process. Mountaineer's former director was let go in March, primarily because of cost. The food bank took a financial hit in July 2014 when its computer system crashed, resulting in a costly fix. The food bank supplies food to more than 600 programs in 48 of West Virginia's 55 counties. Help on the Horizon Inc. director Yvonne Chelberg says Mountaineer helps her program feed 80 to 100 families a month in Lewis and Harrison counties.

WVU Band Picked for Thanksgiving Parade

An honor for the WVU marching band...West Virginia's marching band has been chosen to perform in the 2016 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It will be the WVU band's first appearance in the annual televised parade, which is seen by more than 3.5 million live spectators and more than 50 million people overall. The Pride of West Virginia was selected from 175 applicants as one of 10 bands to march in the parade, a Thanksgiving day staple since 1924.

Widow of Eugene Crum Sues

The widow of a West Virginia sheriff who was shot to death while he sat in his police cruiser is suing the man charged with killing him. The Charleston Gazette reported Rosie Crum filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Tennis Maynard in Mingo County Circuit Court earlier this month. She is seeking $1 million in damages. Maynard is charged with murdering Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum, who was shot in April 2013 in downtown Williamson. Earlier this year, a judge found Maynard mentally incompetent to stand trial. Cabell County Circuit Judge Paul Farrell ordered Maynard committed to a state mental health facility for life and indefinitely postponed his trial. The civil suit says the sheriff was shot while conducting surveillance in a drug investigation.

Girls Scouts to Hold Jamboree in Fayette County

Girls Scouts will gather this summer in the same location where the Boys Scouts of America held their event in 2013. The Girl Scout Jamboree will be held July 22 to 26 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County. The Charleston-based Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council said Wednesday it will host the event, which is open to girls who were in grades 4 through 12 this school year, and open to Girl Scouts nationwide. The registration deadline is June 19. The Boy Scouts own the park that includes zip lines, kayaking, mountain bike courses, archery and shooting ranges.

Man Pleads Guilty in Kickback Scheme

A Logan County man has been sentenced to three years' probation for his role in a kickback scheme at a West Virginia coal mine. Forty-five-year-old Scott Ellis also was fined $3,000 Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. He had faced up to five years in prison. Ellis pleaded guilty last year to structuring a transaction in order to evade federal reporting requirements. He was among 10 people accused of participating in the scheme at Arch Coal's Mountain Laurel mining complex in Logan County. Federal prosecutors say companies had to pay kickbacks to Arch employees for business at Mountain Laurel. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says Ellis structured withdrawals of $10,000 or less from various accounts to generate cash to pay kickbacks.

Elephants to be Phased Out at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced last month it was going to stop using elephants in its shows. So this weekend at the circus in Charleston, the elephants may be making their last stop in Charelston. The regulations over elephant-handling methods are the reason for the decision to go without elephants according to the Charleston Gazette, since the regulations can change across the country and there are different bans when it comes to control devices like leashes and bullhooks. Hundreds turned out Thursday to watch the elephants in the annual Pachyderm Picnic outside Charleston Town Center. The circus runs through Sunday at the Charleston Civic Center.

Proposed Cracker Plant is Under Further Evaluation

Brazilian petrochemical company Odebrecht and plastics maker Braskem say they will re-evaluate an ethane cracker they proposed to build in West Virginia. The companies say in a statement that a re-evaluation of the project's configuration is needed under current energy scenarios. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's spokesman, Chris Stadelman, says the re-evaluation is understandable because of changes in worldwide energy markets and the magnitude of investment. Cracker plants crack or convert ethane into ethylene, a widely used chemical compound. Ethane is a byproduct of natural gas drilling. The proposed ASCENT project would include an ethane cracker, three polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure. The complex would be located in Wood County. Stadelman says Tomblin and Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette will continue to work with the companies.

Sentencing Delayed for Trivillian's Pharmacy Owner

Sentencing has been delayed for a Charleston pharmacy owner who pleaded guilty to making a false statement in a health care matter. The Charleston Daily Mail reports a federal judge in Charleston pushed back the sentencing for Paula J. Butterfield from May 28 to Aug. 4. Butterfield faces up to five years in prison and also pleaded guilty on behalf of her business, Trivillian's Pharmacy, to health care fraud and misbranding drugs. The pharmacy faces a fine, up to 10 years of probation and restitution, and Butterfield herself faces up to 5 years in prison. Prosecutors have said Butterfield admitted the pharmacy dispensed compounded drugs and generic drugs and billed Medicare and Medicaid for brand name drugs, which are more expensive. Butterfield submitted false claims to Medicare on her own behalf.

Suit Settled After Mingo County Men Claim Rights Violation

A federal jury has ordered an assistant police chief in Gilbert to pay $7,500 in medical bills apiece for two Mingo County men who claimed their civil rights were violated when they were beaten by officers in 2011. The Charleston Gazette reports the jury in Charleston also ordered assistant police chief Nathan Glanden to pay $2,500 apiece in compensatory damages and $2,500 in punitive damages to Bobby Lester and Jimmy West. Lester and West filed a lawsuit in 2013 against Glanden, the town of Gilbert, another officer, the West Virginia State Police and one of its troopers. Glanden accused the men of stealing his gun, then brought other officers to the men's home.

UC Gets a New Gym

The University of Charleston is breaking ground on a replacement for its gymnasium this week. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for today for a new arena and learning center called the Russell and Martha Wehrle Innovation Center. Construction is expected to start next month. The $15.5 million complex is scheduled to be completed in fall 2016. The arena will replace the Eddie King Gym, which was built in 1947 and is the oldest facility on campus.

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