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Efforts are increasing to boost recylcing in West Virginia. The state is awarding nearly $1.5 million in recycling assistance grants to 32 agencies, including solid waste authorities, private industries and counties. The money will help buy vehicles as well as educational material to assist recycling programs. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says the recycling assistance grants are generated through a $1 assessment on every ton of solid waste disposed at state landfills.
A former West Virginia pharmacist has been sentenced to six months in federal prison, along with one year of supervised release and a $5,000 fine. 77-year old James P. Wooley pleaded guilty in February, essentially admitting that he new certain prescriptions for controlled substances were not valid. Wooley was the owner and operator of Stronsnider Drug Store Inc., which did business as SAV-RITE Pharmacy in two locations near Kermit in Mingo County. Others have also been sentenced to prison time as part of the investigation.
A Charleston man shot an intruder of the weekend. Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatchers said West Side homeowner Jack Boggess called to report a half-naked man sitting at his kitchen table Saturday around 3am. After kicking his way in through the back door, 33-year old Darin Lanning is accused of taking off some clothing and opening the refrigerator door. That's what woke Boggess up. Boggess says Lanning made a threatening move toward him and that's when the shot was fired. Boggess held Lanning at gunpoint until police arrived. Lanning reportedly thought he was in Hurricane at a friend's house. Earlier on Saturday, Lanning had been arrested by Hurricane police and sent to an alcohol treatment facility in Charleston.
Putnam County schools are getting a financial boost. The West Virginia Department of Education approved a $300,000 grant this week that will allow Putnam County Schools to hire someone to help at-risk students choose a career path. The grant application was denied earlier this year, but was approved this week after more money became available. Innovation zone grants allow schools to try out new, research-based strategies to improve student learning.
The West Virginia Board of Education has voted to fire State Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. There was no specific reason given for the termination. And right after the termination, Board of Education members Jenny Phillips and Priscilla Haden announced their plans for resignation. Marple's termination is effective yesterday, and Deputy Superintendent Chuck Heinlein will manage the department for now.
St. Louis-based Patriot Coal is phasing out mountaintop removal and other forms of strip mining. There is currently a strip mining machine in use along the Boone-Lincoln County line, and the company says phasing out processes like these are in the best interests of the company and the communities where it operates. In a court settlement, Patriot agreed with citizen groups that it won't seek new permits for large-scale surface-mining operations. Some smaller mining projects will continue, but when leases expire, eventually all strip mining will stop.
A woman reportedly started shooting at 34-year old James Galloway Thursday morning after he entered a home in Putnam County, and then he ran down the street as she fired shots. Galloway is accused of stealing a car and fleeing from Putnam County toward Charleston. West Virginia State Police saw the car on Interstate 64 headed toward Charleston and pulled him over near Laidley Field. He tried to run, but was arrested after a brief chase.
Today was the deadline for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to notify the federal government about whether West Virginia will create its own online health insurance exchange or leave it to the federal government. In a late development yesterday, the deadline was extended, giving states another month to decide. West Virginia is among eight undecided states, and some say the extra time is meant to coax those states into setting up their own exchange. There are several reports that the governor and his administration had decided against a state-run exchange and will let the federal government operate it, but no final decision has been announced.
Former Lincoln County commissioner Thomas Ramey Jr. had hoped to avoid prison time for his role in an election fraud scheme, but was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison Thursday. Ramey resigned from office in August and pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about his handling of fraudulent absentee ballots when he was a county commissioner. Then-Sheriff Jerry Bowman and then-Clerk Donald Whitten also pleaded guilty in the scheme and received prison time.
More attention is being drawn to recent graffiti in Charleston. in fact, even MSNBC has picked up on the story. Just this week the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services had some of it's vehicles tagged with the word "DICE." That word has been something of a recurring theme over the past few weeks on vehicles, buildings and sidewalks. The Salvation Army in Charleston has been among the places hit, as well as homes along Roane Street and the Health Net building along Wyoming Street. Charleston police are investigating, and don't thing the vandals are targeting any specific area of the city. There are many examples of DICE graffiti posted online.