Breaking Local News

Much of the State Lacks Proper Internet Access

The Federal Communications Commission recently updated its broadband benchmark speed, and more than half of West Virginians don't have access that meet's today's requirements. The new benchmark for downloads is 25 megabits per second, up from four megabits. The new benchmark for uploads is three megabits per second, up from 1 megabit. In a report released Friday, the FCC says nearly 56 percent of West Virginia residents don't have access to broadband service that meets the new benchmarks. In rural areas of the state, 74 percent of residents lack access. The report says 17 percent of residents nationwide lack access.

School President Faces Allegations

West Liberty University President Robin Capehart faces allegations that he violated state ethics law by using university resources to promote his film company. The allegations are contained in a complaint released this week by the West Virginia Ethics Commission, and they've scheduled an April 16 hearing. The complaint alleges that Capehart used a state purchasing card for expenses related to promoting "Doughboy," a 2011 movie produced by his company, Flyover Films. Capehart also is accused of using university computer equipment for the film's production and promotion, and of using the school's television station to promote the film. Capehart denies the allegations.

Restaurant Week Starts February 2

Local restaurants are showcasing their best next week, and a three-course meal will cost thirty bucks - that's an appetizer, entree, and dessert. There are 16 spots that will be part of Charleston Restaurant Week Feb. 2-7, including 5 Corners Café, Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille, B&D Gastropub, Black Sheep Burrito & Brews, Bluegrass Kitchen, Bridge Road Bistro, Celsius, Ichiban Pan-Asian Restaurant, Laury’s, Mi Cocina de Amor, Paterno’s at the Park, Soho’s at Capitol Market, South Hills Market & Café, Starling’s Coffee & Provisions, Tidewater Grill and Quarrier Diner. There are posters up around town, or you can go to www.facebook.com/eatlocalcwv for more.

Former Freedom Execs Respond to New Charges

Four former Freedom Industries executives were arraigned on a superseding indictment Thursday, stemming from the chemical spill last January. The superseding indictment contains a new charge against former Freedom President Gary Southern stemming from the company's bankruptcy and restates the original charges against him and three other former executives. Southern faces a new count of fraud by interstate commercial carrier. He, William Tis, Charles Herzing and Dennis Farrell previously were charged with violating the federal Clean Water Act. In court filings this week, Southern, Tis and Herzing pleaded not guilty to the superseding indictment and waived their rights to be present at yesterday's arraignment. Farrell pleaded not guilty at the arraignment.

Dates Announced for History Bowl

Regional competitions start next month in the sixth annual West Virginia History Bowl, which tests eighth-grade history buffs on their knowledge of West Virginia culture, geography, literature and sports. The eight regional matches are scheduled to take place from Feb. 6 to March 7, and then the winner and runner-up teams will be invited to the tournament championship at the Culture Center in Charleston on May 5.

Tech Chancellor Steps Down

The chancellor of West Virginia's community and technical college system is leaving after 11 years on the job. Chancellor James Skidmore announced Thursday he will leave his post on June 30. He was the first chancellor of the system. Skidmore sought improvements to infrastructure and the creation of two advanced technology centers during his tenure. A search committee will be formed to find a successor.

Supporters Rally to Legalize Marijuana

Those in favor of legalizing marijana gathered at the Kanawha County Courthouse Thursday to support a man who filed a petition against the governor, the attorney general and West Virginia legislatures. The man wants an investigation into why marijuana is not legal. At the very least, the medical marijuana issue is expected to be introduced in the state legislature again this session.

Questions Pop Up During Main Street Merger

East End Main Street and West Side Main Street announced last fall that they'd merge, and some East End board members raised questions about it Wednesday. Both districts would keep their board of directors at 15 members, but each district direct would be hired or fired by Charleston's Main Street executive director. The Charleston Gazette reports East End Main Street director Ric Cavender is slated to take on that position once the two organizations are combined. Forming a selection committee is one option, and the board left the action plan as subject to change as the merger process continues.

CAMC Faces Fines

State regulators have fined Charleston Area Medical Center $48,049 for hazardous waste violations at its three hospitals. A consent order says the violations include failing to keep containers closed when not adding or moving hazardous waste, failing to properly package broken lamps containing mercury and accepting and storing hazardous waste off-site without a permit. The order says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection discovered the violations during inspections of CAMC's Memorial Hospital, General Hospital and Women and Children's Hospital in June 2014. The DEP has approved a corrective plan submitted by CAMC.

Juvenile Arrested After Capital High Sexual Assault

After an alleged sexual assault at Capital High School on Monday, police have arrested one juvenile. The juvenile has been charged with second degree sexual assault, and the investigation is continuing. Charleston police say the alleged rape happened Monday morning on school grounds, and the 17-year old boy allegedly sexually assaulted a 15-year old girl under a stairwell. There is surveillance video showing part of what happened, and police have also been conducting interviews. State law requires school administrators to notify police of any alleged sexual assaults immediately, or within 48 hours. After the Monday morning incident, the teen was arrested Tuesday night.

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