Breaking Local News

Polls Open Today

Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick says early voting went well with a daily average of around a thousand people taking advantage of the opportunity. In all, about 9400 people cast ballots ahead of today's general election The polls are open today from 6:30 a-m to 7:30 p-m.

UC Plans Upgrades At Pharmacy School

The University of Charleston is planning improvements to its School of Pharmacy to address issues raised by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. The agency placed the pharmacy school on a two-year probationary status in July after finding that the school was noncompliant with a standard requiring that an accredited school be headed by a dean, collaborate with the larger university, and be autonomous. The school was partially noncompliant in several other areas, including staffing. University of Charleston President Ed Welch tells The Charleston Gazette that most of the improvements will be implemented by January, and that includes hiring a new administrative staff member, strengthening the role of the pharmacy school's dean and other deans, and filling vacant positions. Welch says the pharmacy school remains accredited.

County Commissioners To Start Process of Replacing Plants

Kanawha County commissioners will meet next week to find a temporary and then a permanent replacement for prosecutor Mark Plants, who says he won't appeal the decision to remove him from office. The agenda for the special commission meeting on Monday, Nov. 10th shows commissioners were talk about and then vote on appointing a temporary prosecuting attorney who would serve no longer than 30 days. Commissioners will also talk about the application process for a permanent successor to Plants, and public interviews for the candidates would happen Nov. 17.

Judges Tapped to Fill In During Another Judge's Suspension

Three senior status judges will fill in for a judge suspended without pay for an inappropriate sexual affair. Friday, West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Robin Davis recalled Judges John Henning, Thomas Steptoe and Thomas Keadle to serve in Jaymie Godwin Wilfong's place. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday to suspend Wilfong through December 2016 and make her pay $8,000 in prosecuting costs. Wilfong had a two-year affair with William Travis Carter, then director of North Central Community Corrections in Elkins.

Threats At Two Schools Are Investigated

No word yet if the students who made threats at two different schools Friday will face any charges. One threat was made in Jackson County and another in Lincoln County, and some parents chose not to send their kids to school because of them after word traveled on social media that the schools might be in danger. Ripley High School went into lockdown mode for about 45 minutes, before Ripley Police officers gave the all clear. There was also a police presence at Lincoln County High School, where a student threatened to bring a gun to school. Police are still looking into it.

Report Says Drilling Impacts National Forests

A conservation group is highlighting the George Washington and Jefferson national forests in Virginia and West Virginia are places that are at risk from gas drilling activities. Trout Unlimited's new "10 Special Places" report ranks the region as fifth for its areas that are rich in fish, game and natural beauty. The report covers threats to the specific regions and offers recommendations for the best approaches that can be used to protect these areas from potential risks. The group says it would be almost impossible to develop gas without severely impacting and changing the character of the national forest.

Court Rules in Inmate Case

The West Virginia Supreme Court has again ruled that the state Regional Jail Authority cannot be held liable in a lawsuit that alleged a male correctional officer raped a female inmate. The Charleston Gazette reports that justices made a similar ruling in March but agreed to reconsider its decision after outrage from state and national organizations. The court says the authority is entitled to immunity because the woman failed to provide any evidence that the officer's alleged actions occurred within the scope of his employment. A lawsuit claims the officer raped the woman 17 times while she was an inmate at the Southern Regional Jail in 2009.

Putnam Veteran's Court Gets Grant

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia is getting a federal grant to expand Putnam County's Veterans Treatment Court. Officials say the $50,000 federal planning grant will allow the court to expand into a Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court. The grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice will cover the salary and benefits for a full-time treatment court manager for the Court, which is a combination of federal resources and state resources to offer treatment over incarceration. The Putnam County program will be the second full-fledged Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court in West Virginia.

New Flight Announced From Beckley to Charlotte

There's a new nonstop air service between Beckley and Charlotte, North Carolina starting soon. The Raleigh County Memorial Airport and Via Airlines reached an agreement for the service which should start in December. Flights to Charlotte will leave Beckley at 6:55 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 6:55 on Saturday and Sunday. Return flights arrive in Beckley at 9:46 a.m. and 5:35 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at 5:35 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It's about an hour flight. Right now the Beckley airport offers twice-daily United Express flights to and from Washington’s Dulles International Airport.

Radioactive Detectors To Be Installed at Landfills

A state Department of Environmental Protection official says the installation of detectors is nearly complete at six West Virginia landfills that will accept low-level radioactive drilling waste from natural gas operations. Legislation passed earlier this year required radiation monitoring of drill cuttings sent to landfills and overturned tonnage limits for those particular landfills. The DEP then crafted emergency rules for radiation detector placement. Detectors will be in place at two landfills in Harrison County and one apiece in Brooke, Ohio, Wetzel and Wood counties. Loads of cuttings above a certain radiation level must be rejected.

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