Breaking Local News

Gov. Leaves This Week on Trade Mission to Japan

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is heading to Japan this week. A trade delegation led by Tomblin is scheduled to leave on Tuesday to seek new business investments for West Virginia and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the state's development office in Nagoya. The 10-day trip includes stops in Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo. Former Gov. Gaston Caperton will be among the 15-member trade delegation. The Nagoya office opened during Caperton's administration. Nineteen Japanese companies have established operations in West Virginia since the development office opened. Tomblin has invited state residents to ask questions that he plans to answer with short video messages from Japan. Questions can be submitted at www.governor.wv.gov .

Logan Teacher Faces Charges

West Virginia State Police have charged a teacher and assistant basketball coach at Logan High School in a sex abuse case. State Police spokesman Lt. Michael Baylous says 32-year-old Ryan J. Waugh of Stollings was arrested Thursday on 11 counts of sexual abuse by a parent, custodian or guardian. He's also charged with one count of using obscene material to seduce a minor after being accused of exchanging nude photos with a female student and having sexual contact with her. Waugh is listed as a history teacher and assistant girls basketball coach at the school.

Two County Officials Fined for Ethics Violations

The Ethics Commission announced yesterday that Raleigh County Assessor Drema Bias-Evans and Harrison County Commissioner Bernie Fazzini are both facing fines for ethics violations. Bias-Evans is fined $7,500 for interviewing and recommending her son for a job in 2010. The order says she gave her son and grandson raises more often than some other office employees. Bias-Evans can't oversee employment decisions and supervision for her son and grandson. It says she let employees travel to and from Beckley and Charleston in county cars to get Christmas gifts for children of unemployed Raleigh County coal miners. Fazzini is fined $3,500 after twice requesting the same $3,100 reimbursement for a Portland work trip. He already returned about half of that.

Woman Sentenced for St. Albans Murder

A woman is facing a life sentence for a St Albans murder. Jessica Wilson was sentenced Thursday for stabbing and killing 66-year old Nancy Lynch on Jan. 4, 2014 in St. Albans. Timothy Shafer as a co-defendent who previously testified that Wilson did the stabbing, and he's serving a life sentence. There were also things stolen from Lynch's home that were found later at local pawn shops. WCHS TV reports an autopsy revealed that Lynch died of 19 stab wounds.

Blankenship Asks To Travel Outside the Area

Ex-Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is asking for a federal judge's permission to head home to Las Vegas for Memorial Day. In a Beckley federal court filing Wednesday, Blankenship's attorneys say he wants to attend to personal matters at home from May 23 to May 30, including a trip to the dentist. The filing says Blankenship hasn't returned to Las Vegas since the Thanksgiving holiday. Judge Irene Berger denied Blankenship's request to return home to Las Vegas for Christmas and New Year's. Blankenship is charged with conspiring to violate safety standards at Upper Big Branch where an explosion killed 29 men in 2010.

Investigation Continues Into Cross Lanes Robbery

Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a burglary and shooting that happened early Wednesday at an apartment on Cross Lanes Drive, in Cross Lanes. The people who lived there said they were sleeping in their bedrooms when they heard their door kicked in and heard people stealing things in the living room. When the husband went into the living room Sgt. B- Humphreys says a white suspect ran off first, and the man shot a black suspect as he was fleeing. That suspect eventually fell on the road, and was taken to a hospital for treatment with non-life-threatening injuries. The investigation continues, and charges could be filed.

Decision Coming on Whether Prosecutors Are Conflicted in Spill Case

Attorneys for former executives charged in a chemical spill said in court that prosecutors should be recused. In Charleston federal court Wednesday, attorneys for ex-Freedom Industries officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell said some prosecutors have conflicts because they were victims of the January 2014 Freedom spill. Prosecutors said defendants had the law and facts wrong. Defense attorneys said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin is conflicted partly because his wife, Amy Shuler Goodwin, is state tourism commissioner and was Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's spokeswoman during the spill. Both defendants pleaded not guilty to pollution charges. Southern also pleaded not guilty to fraud in Freedom's bankruptcy case. Judge Thomas Johnston hopes to rule by a June 1 hearing.

W.Va. officials back down on cuts to disabled program

Amid public pressure, state officials are scaling back proposed changes to a program that helps the disabled. The move comes after Delegate Patrick Lane, other lawmakers and the disabled community rallied against the original proposal, fearing planned restrictions would hinder ability to get care. The new proposal would limit respite care restrictions, allow flexibility in support services and allow maximum time in a facility-based program. The state Department of Health and Human Resources says the new proposal won't reduce direct medical services, only change caregiver benefits to align with other states. It says changes would help serve some of 1,000 waiting list patients. The program provides community-based services to about 4,500 intellectually and developmentally disabled people.

Body found is missing St. Albans woman

A body recovered Saturday night in Gallia County, Ohio has been identified as a West Virginia woman, who's been missing since February. The Kanawha County Sheriff's office confirms the body found belongs to Frances Wartenburg of St. Albans, West Virginia. She disappeared February 22, and was last seen leaving a birthday party in Jefferson. Wartenburg's body was badly decomposed and dental records were used to identify the body. The cause of Wartenburg's death is still under investigation.

W.Va. governor highlights workforce development at summit

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other leaders gathered for a rundown on what the state is doing to develop its workforce. The Democratic governor's event took place at the Bridge Valley Community and Technical College's Advanced Technology Center Tuesday. Officials provided a review of state workforce development efforts, including new initiatives to meet the workforce's educational needs and the training needs of new and expanding West Virginia businesses. Speakers touted a variety of programs, including one that re-educates displaced coal miners and another that helps prepare troubled youth for careers and offer various apprenticeships.

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