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Putnam County Family Court Judge William Watkins came before the state Judicial Hearing Board Tuesday to address his past behavior in the courtroom. Watkins is facing seven charges for allegedly screaming and yelling at people in court, delaying rulings, and failng to enter domestic violence orders into the state's tracking system. The state Judicial Investigation Commission found in their investigation that Watkins violated the state Code of Judicial Conduct. Watkins has apologized and waits to learn what disciplinary action comes next.
Teachers and administrators are in Charleston thiss week to learn more about Advanced Placement, or AP courses. The West Virginia Center for Professional Development is hosting an Advanced Placement Fall Institute that runs through Friday at the Charleston Civic Center. A news release from the Center for Professional Development says the sessions will help teachers and administrators help students with the Advanced Placement exams in May.
Contractors interested in helping clean up debris after Superstorm Sandy have the chance to find out more at a meeting with state officials. The state Division of Highways will hold the mandatory meeting for contractors who want to bid on debris removal projects from Superstorm Sandy. The meeting will be held Wednesday at the Days Inn in Flatwoods and bids will be accepted December 6th. The contracts would be for the removal of downed trees, damaged roots and brush from Division of Highway rights-of-way and only licensed contractors will be chosen.
West Virginia lottery players are buying multiple tickets, with tonight's Powerball jackpot which has been increased from $425 million to $500 million. West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave says sales for Saturday's drawing topped $1 million, and strong sales are expected to continue as tonight's drawing approaches. Eight Powerball players in West Virginia have won jackpots, including a $314.9 million jackpot in 2002. 42 states can play Powerball, plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. The odds of winning are 1 in 175 million.
Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority executive director Joe DeLong is calling for surveillance cameras to be installed in regional jails, not necessarily to keep tabs on prisoners, but rather the jail staff. Delong told an interim legislative committee this week that 15 correctional officers at the Western Regional jail are on suspension after being accused of using excessive force against inmates. Others allegedly brought contraband into the jail. Some of the guards are accused of helping to cover up wrongdoing.
A memorial service is planned today at 2 p.m. for a former teachers union leader in Kanawha County. Iva Jewell Wilburn died last week at the age of 75. She was president of the Kanawha County Education Association for six years and worked as a teacher at Grandview Elementary School in North Charleston for nearly three decades, according to the Charleston Gazette. She retired in 2001. Services are this afternoon at Bartlett-Burdette-Cox Funeral Home on Charleston's West Side.
Some say the Powerball jackpot could reach higher than $425 million with the buzz surrounding the game's largest jackpot. With millions out buying tickets today and tomorrow, the jackpot could continue to sell. There were several winners Saturday night who won $1 million, and ond $2 million winner, but no numbers matched all of the numbers plus the Powerball to claim the grand prize. Forty two states plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands play Powerball.
State lawmakers returned to Charleston Monday for the November Interim Meetings. Legislative committees heard testimony yesterday about the impacts of national economic changes on West Virginia's economy. Severance tax collections from natural gas were also addressed. Today, state Board of Education President Wade Linger speak to an education subcommittee. Last week the state board approved its response to the comprehensive education efficiency audit that came out in January. Linger will go into detail today before the education subcommittee.
State lawmakers returned to Charleston Monday for Interim meetings. This session continues through Wednesday and is for current lawmakers. Before the 2013 Regular Legislative Session begins on Wednesday, February 13th. lawmakers will meet three more times. The scheduled dates for additional interim meetings are December 10-12, January 7-9 and February 10-12.
The ups and downs of the coal industry flatten out and the industry may become more stable in 2013. West Virginia officials hope coal mining layoffs have eased. More than 4,700 mine workers filed initial unemployment claims earlier this year, but that number dropped to 2,500 last month. Program acting Executive Director Russell Fry said that could be due to ex mine workers getting jobs elsewhere. Fry was among several speakers called Monday by a House-Senate committee studying coal's future in the state.