Breaking Local News
West Virginia’s top health official, Dr. Rahul Gupta, says flu season may have already peaked, but warns to stay away from emergency rooms unless it’s absolutely necessary, since that can make someone without the flu sicker. WCHS TV reports Gupta's concern that there are 200 upper respiratory tract viruses floating around, and the flu shot hasn't been all that effective. For those under 18, the flu vaccine is working just 26 percent of the time. For adults 18-49, it drops to just 12 percent. For those over 50, the most vulnerable group, its only 14 percent effective. Flu season runs through March.
The Republican-run state Senate has passed a repeal of an energy portfolio. The Senate voted 33-0 Wednesday to repeal the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. One senator was absent. The portfolio requires generating 25 percent of electricity with renewable or alternative power sources by 2025. The House expects its repeal vote today.
A community group is trying to give new life to Clendenin’s historic Roxy Theater. It's been closed for 15 years and was built around 1930. Now a revitalization group that was instrumental in getting federal funding to renovate the old Clendenin High School building, is also working on fixing up the theater, according to the Charleston Gazette. The group will use a $75,000 grant to begin restoration of the old theater’s interior, and has spent six figures completely replacing the roof and a crumbling back wall. They're raising more money for more renovations, and will pursue another grant to finish it out.
Thomas Health System president and CEO Stephen P. Dexter is stepping down after 21 years of service. Dexter plans to retire July 31 after 21 years of service, but will remain with the health system as a senior executive through January 2017. Executive vice president and chief operation officer Dan Lauffer has been named to succeed Dexter. Thomas Health System operates Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston and Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston.
A 33-year-old Cumberland, Maryland, man accused in the killing of a West Virginia University student will undergo a psychiatric review, according to the Dominion Post. The review was ordered Tuesday after Robert Hernandez Jr.'s attorney told a judge Hernandez said he wanted to die. Hernandez' first-degree murder trial in the fatal stabbing of Devante Waites last August was to begin next week but a defense attorney said he wanted an exam to make sure Hernandez's mental state wouldn't affect his defense or whether the court could accept a plea.
A Democrat has refiled a proposal banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation in West Virginia, despite its veto last year. Fayette County Del. David Perry reintroduced the bill that Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed last time around. It bans abortions after 20 weeks, except for expectant women in medical emergencies. Tomblin said Tuesday he'll likely veto the bill again:
A simple majority of lawmakers is needed to overturn policy bill vetoes.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has approved raises for high-ranking staff members, after some attorneys left his office for the Legislature. Morrisey appointed Misha Tseytlin as general counsel after Dan Greear left to work for the House speaker. Tseytlin is a former deputy attorney general. The promotion comes with a $6,500 raise for Tseytlin, increasing the position's compensation to $103,000, according to a memo obtained by The Charleston Gazette. Morrisey also promoted Paul Anthony Martin to senior deputy attorney general. The former Texas lawyer was hired by Morrisey in 2013. Martin's promotion came with a $3,000 pay hike. He now makes $111,500 a year.
A homeless man who says a Charleston policeman tossed his backpack off a bridge has agreed to a settlement in exchange for agreeing not to sue the city. The Charleston Gazette reports that Andrew Joel Hunt settled for $1,500, according to an agreement. The backpack tossed into the Elk River contained a laptop and photographs of his late wife, and after tossing the backpack patrolman Brian Lightner was on paid leave. Now the Gazette reports Lightner has been "separated from employment" with the Charleston Police Department.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's office is investigating a stolen truck, swiped from the Division of Highways office off of Pennsylvania Avenue north of Charleston. The call came in Monday morning, but deputies think it was stolen around 10:30 p.m. Sunday The truck is a white Ford F-350 with West Virginia license plate number B55105. A welder and air compressor were also stolen too, and the suspect is described as a white male, medium build, wearing a camouflage jacket at the time. Anyone with tips on the suspect or the vehicle should call 304-357-0169 or submit an anonymous tip through www.kanawhasheriff.us.
Stephen Dwayne Snead has been arrested for malicious wounding. He is accused of stabbing an ex-brother-in-law in Cross Lanes Sunday evening. The warrant was issued last night. It happened near the Dollar General store on Doc Bailey Road in Cross Lanes, according to a news release from the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office. The victim, Christopher McClanahan was stabbed several times in the abdomen and hip, and is in the hospital recovering.