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In the wake of the chemical spill that tainted drinking water supplies for West Virginia residents, a Senate committee on Thursday approved a bill boosting controls on chemical storage facilities. The bill would require states to inspect chemical storage facilities and inspect them regularly. The state would have to identify tanks near drinking water supplies and companies would have to develop state-approved emergency plans. The tank that leaked chemicals into the West Virginia water supply was upstream from a drinking water source and had rarely been inspected.
An 8 month investigation of what Charleston Police call retail organized crime culminated in a raid and an arrest Thursday at the Middle East Mart. Police allege that the owner of that store would give thieves a shopping list of items to steal from other stores. The thieves would then bring them in for resale at Middle East Mart. The wife the store owner was arrested on Thursday. Khitam Ghoul faces a charge of transferring and receiving stolen property. And police say the investigation isn't over yet.
Interstate 64 was closed for a couple of hours last night for emergency power line repairs. The repairs were delayed for a bit after a truck broke down in the section where the repairs were slated. The truck was moved about 9 pm and the Interstate was closed between Cross Lanes and Institute at that time. The road reopened about 11:15.
State highway officials are concerned about rock falls onto Interstate 79 near Mink Shoals,but say there's really not a bandaid to slap on the problem. Boulders fell from the cliff onto the highway on Wednesday, and one man was hurt when his car hit rocks in the road. Carrie Bly of the Division of Highways says crews expect rock falls around the state in the spring because ice gets between rocks in the winter, causing cracks. If the problem worsens, however, Bly says there are solutions that can be pursued such as cutting out a section of the hillside.
Teachers unions in West Virginia are furious at the governor after he vetoed a bill that would have given them more control on how they spend their planning periods. Christine Campbell is president of the state branch of the American Federation of Teachers. She says as teacher workloads continue to increase ,they should have the right to determine how they utilize those 40 minutes planning time they get each day. In vetoing the bill, Governor Tomblin said it would hamper collaboration between teachers and principals and would impose additional costs. The bill would have prevented teachers being assigned other duties during planning periods.
A rally was staged in front of the Charleston federal courthouse Wednesday, demanding justice for the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch mine explosion. Family and friends of the miners said the deaths could have been avoided if Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy had focused on safety instead of just money and coal. Blankenship recently released a documentary film that claims his company was not to blame for the tragedy.
Triple-A reports gas prices held steady around the state this week, with the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular at $3.60. The website gasbuddies.com puts the price in Charlotte at 3.61,which is up from $3.53 a week ago,but down from $3.65 at this time last year.
Police staged a crackdown on crime at the Charleston Transit Mall on Wednesday. Police raided the bus stop and arrested 9 people on charges including drug possession, public intoxication and outstanding warrants. A police spokesperson said the raid was part of an attempt to send a clear message that the city is not going to tolerate the kind of behavior that has been going on at the transit mall. Area residents say they've been scared of the people gathered there, saying you don't know if they're going to hurt you or just sell you drugs.
A rock slide just outside of Charleston sent one person to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon. The slide happened in the southbound lanes of Interstate 77 about 4 pm. One person whose car was hit by rocks was transported to the hospital. The slide reduced traffic in the southbound lanes for the rest of the evening rush hour.
A chase involving Kanawha County Sheriff's deputies ended in a deadly crash last night. The chase began around 7 oclock when a man a green Camaro pulled out of McNally's Pub in Cross Lanes and began passing cars in the turn lane. Deputies spotted it,and tried to pull him over. He took off, and the chase reached speeds of up to 85 miles an hour with some drivers swerving off the road to keep from being hit by the Camaro. Deputies gave up the chase in the 48 hundred block of Big Tyler Road. They kept driving in that direction however, and came across a wreck involving the Camaro and a Honda Accord. The Camaro was burning and rescuers weren't able to get the driver out. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The people in the Honda suffered serious injuries. The road was closed until about 11 oclock last night.