Breaking Local News
In the last month, there have been several Polaris “Razor” side-by-side’s stolen from the Kanawha Valley, estimated around 20,000 a piece. Charleston Police and the Kanawha County Sheriff Office are working on the cases and have reason to believe they are connected. On each theft the suspects or suspects are hooking up to the victim’s utility trailers and getting away with both trailers and side-by-side’s. Investigators think the suspect vehicle could possibly be a white Chevy 1500 extended cab or a white Ford F-150 extended cab, around 2000- to 2004 year model. Anyone with information should contact Charleston Police or the sheriff's office.
A tree that has been on property in Pratt for many years is making its way to the Capitol. Molly Gill planted a spruce tree on her property in Pratt in 1996, and WCHS TV says after 18 years, the tree has grown to about 15 feet tall. It's too large for her property now, so it's going to the Capitol where it will be on display as the main Christmas tree on the river side of the complex. Crews worked on removing the tree yesterday, and several people from Pratt turned out to watch.
The Putnam County Development Authority has rejected a request to buy two small areas outside an area hospital so people can continue to smoke there. Randy Hodges of CAMC Teays Valley Hospital wanted to sell the hospital's two small outdoor smoking areas to the development authority for $1 so they won't officially be part of the medical campus. The Charleston Gazette reports that the development authority unanimously denied the request this week. Hodges had acknowledged that the deal would amount to a loophole in an accreditation company's mandate that the hospital move toward being a "smoke-free campus." The accreditation company determines whether the hospital can serve Medicare and Medicaid patients.
West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.5 percent in October.
WorkForce West Virginia says that rate translates to 51,900 unemployed in the state, up 2,300 from a year ago. The state's unemployment rate tops the national jobless rate, which was 5.8 percent last month. Employment gains were reported in mining and logging, construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, financial activities, and education and health services. Declines were reported in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, government and other services.
West Virginia University had planned to provide transportation to the funeral of a student in Buffalo, New York today, but the weather has changed that. A lake-effect storm dumped 6-feet of snow in the Buffalo area, and instead of sending a bus to the funeral the school says it will hold a memorial service for 18-year old freshman Nolan Burch at Trinity Eposcopal Church in Morgantown this morning at 10am. Burch died last Friday after police said he was found unconscious and not breathing at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house. Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston confirmed the incident was alcohol-related. WVU has ordered a halt to all activities at its fraternities and sororities.
After Nitro was accepted into the Home Rule program in October, a possible one percent sales tax was a priority. A public hearing was held Tuesday to give residents the chance to voice an opinion about whether or not to implement one. The Nitro Council could vote now to send the one percent sales tax proposal to the Home Rule Board, which meets December 1st. If the board approves, the one percent sales tax could go into effect in Nitro next July, and there are reports it could generate a million dollars in sales tax revenue per year.
High school students across West Virginia have the chance to participate in a poetry competition that could land them a trip to the nation's capital. The "Poetry Out Loud" contest features students memorizing and reciting poetry for an audience, and helps students develop public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Dec. 1 is the deadline to register with the state Division of Culture and History. The competition begins at the school level, with winners advancing to the March state competition in Charleston. Winners from each state and U.S. territory compete at the national finals in Washington next April. The state champion receives $200 and a trip to the national finals. Their school also receives $500 to purchase poetry books.
About 5,600 West Virginians have been invited to attend the governor's annual holiday parties. The guest list includes constituents, public officials and journalists. The invitation-only events will be held Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 at the Culture Center in Charleston. There also will be tours of the Governor's Mansion. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and first lady Joanne Tomblin moved the parties from the mansion to the Culture Center last year. Tomblin previously had held the parties in a 2,000-square-foot rented tent on the mansion's grounds.
Fracking will be allowed in parts of the 1.1-million-acre George Washington National Forest. The US Forest Service originally planned to ban fracking in the forest, but energy companies cried foul after a draft of the plan was released in 2011. It would have been the first outright ban on the practice in a national forest. A representative with the Ag Department says fracking is already allowed at other national forests throughout the country, and the forest service didn't want to change the policy.
A lawsuit against former Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury is scheduled to go to trial today. Robert Woodruff's federal lawsuit alleges malicious prosecution, false arrest and wrongful imprisonment. Thornsbury was indicted last year on charges of trying to frame Woodruff for several crimes. The charges were later dismissed in exchange for Thornsbury's guilty plea in a separate case involving a scheme to protect the late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum. Thornsbury is serving a 50-month sentence in a federal prison in Florida. The Charleston Gazette reports Thornsbury has been taken to the South Central Regional Jail and that settlement talks are continuing. A lawsuit filed against Thornsbury by Woodruff's wife is pending in Kanawha County Circuit Court.